San Diego High School Under Fire For Teachers’ ‘Culturally Insensitive’ Yearbook Photos—And, Yikes

Here we go again…

A high school near San Diego has found itself at the center of a sh*t storm as yearbook photos of its world language department have been deemed “culturally insensitive and in poor judgment” by the school’s administration.

The photos feature San Pasqual High School’s language teachers in costume. What sort of costume?

Your basic stereotypical “Pancho Villa” ensemble of sombrero, serape and curly mustache (plus some opera-length gloves and a beret for the French teacher).

(Personally my favorite part of this are all the spelling mistakes. So much for the language arts am I right?!)

The Escondido Union High School District where San Pasqual is located has been emphatic about the point that the photos were originally taken as the faculty members’ school ID photos and were not intended for use in the yearbook. (And that makes it better… how?)

Reactions varied widely. Some parents and students were outraged, while others just thought it was funny.

Parent and former student Tania Marin thought the photos were amusing. As she told NBC San Diego:

“I think that lately everything is so sensitive. If they were teaching Russian and they had a Russian hat, I would find it hilarious.”

Which… okay fine, but Russian garb doesn’t carry the same history of racism and oppression, including, like, being left to die in tents in the Texas desert, like Latinx people are. So this isn’t the greatest of points, since it’s not really comparing apples to oranges?

But whatever.

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Other parents, though, were a bit more circumspect, including some of the school’s Latinx parents.

For parent Martin Reyes, it came down to the teachers’ intent:

“They could be offensive if they’re making fun of us. But it could be something honorable if they’re trying to do honor to the Mexican culture. It would be better without the big mustache and hats.”

Parent Merced Juarez, however, “It doesn’t look offensive to me,” and went on to praise one of the teachers in the photo, in whose class Juarez’s son studied Spanish. 
Regardless, the question remains: who thought this was a good idea? As parent Brooke Angaga put it:
As leaders in the school, that wasn’t thought through very well. I’m sure it went through a lot of hands.”
However, one place where opinions were decidedly strong, as usual, was the internet.
And the majority seemed to feel like this was all a little silly.

Though given the climate our country is currently in, not everyone agreed:




And still others saw the REAL problem as something else entirely!



Hopefully, we can all agree that our possibly ill-advised cultural appropriation should AT LEAST be spelled correctly!