Will 2014 Be the Year Fullerton High and Canyon High Drop their Offensive Indians and Comanches Nicknames?

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Yesterday, while I was sprawled across the floor in my tiny P.O. Box, nearly passed out from another night of Maker's and Zaya, a news report on KCAL-TV Channel 9 aired about Vallejo High School up north dropping their Apaches nickname and mascot. It's part of a nationwide movement to change the nicknames of sports teams that call themselves after Indian tribes or "Indians" following in the wake of pressure on the Washington Redskins to switch out their hilariously antiquated logo.

The report reminded me: are activists ever going to go after Fullerton High again?

Let's hop on the '74 Caddy time machine to 2002, when your humble Mexican was just a cub reporter and your favorite infernal rag averaged 90+ pages a week. I was driving back from somewhere in Brea (now that I think of it, I was trying to get with a girl--and, of course, that went nowhere) south on Euclid Road, when I passed by the board room of the Fullerton Joint Union Joint High District off Bastanchury Road. Outside were about 20 protestors who were going to ask the trustees to change the name of Fullerton High's mascot from the Indians to anything else. They were particularly bold that night, too, demanding that the board also change the nickname of the Sonora High Raiders, because their mascot was a caricature of Emiliano Zapata (and that's the last time you'll hear about Sonora High for a couple of years, because who ever thinks of Sonora High?).

The board, unsurprisingly, laughed them off, and a skirmish broke out. I say "laughably" not because I think the cause isn't noble, but because Fullerton High has used the logo for over a century as the second-oldest high school in Orange County, and such a move would infuriate its wide, conservative, retrograde alumni network. Nothing has changed in the decade since--if anything, Fullerton High graduates are as tied to the nickname as ever.

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Which takes us to Canyon High.

Their mascot is the Comanches, and a bushy one, at that. As far as I can tell, they've never had to bother with people protesting their mascot. And I doubt they ever will on their own volition: the school is safely ensconced in Anaheim Hills, and is the type of place where people will dress up as "Mexicans" and paint YOU as the racist for calling them out on their wackiness.

But with an emboldened opposition, expect local activists to pressure Fullerton and Canyon to drop their Indians and Comanches next year--the Revolution must take a break for turkey and tamales, you know? And expect gabachos saying with a straight face that the Indians and Comanches names honor Indians and Comanches, and call the Native Americans pushing for such a measure the real racists. Stay classy, OC!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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