On Minority Prep Athletes Messing with their Racist High School Counterparts

On Minority Prep Athletes Messing with their Racist High School Counterparts

OC Weekly contributor and my occasional KPFK-FM 90.7 producer Gabriel San Roman wrote a great recollection on his personal blog about his days as a varsity basketball player for Savanna High School in Anaheim during the late 1990s. The ostensible reason for the post was a response to arrogant lefties who decry sports as the opiate of the masses; San Roman pointed out that playing prep hoops proved crucial to his political formation.

"There was never a separation nor was there a sense that basketball and politics were mutually exclusive," he explained. "This was most pronounced when I played for my High School Basketball team and matched up throughout the years against the wealthier school of Brea Olinda in Orange County. Because of a class consciousness that was known through life experience, not by reading Marx, these games amped me and my teammates more than any others. The smugness of Brea labeled our school and its students as 'apartment dwellers.' Their campus resembled a junior college. Ours? A steel cage match."

San Roman goes on to reveal their team's rallying circle cry when playing against the Wildcats: "Minorities on 3! 1,2,3, Minorities!"

This incident reminded me of another Brea Olinda High student racialist moment: my senior year at Anaheim High, when we played the Wildcats at their beautiful home field for a football game, our quarterback didn't even bother with code to bark out the plays--he spoke to his teammates in plain Spanish, infuriating and flummoxing the non-Latino opposing side (this bit of Reconquista was documented in the small-but-excellent Anaheim Colonists Football: A Century of Tradition).

What San Roman failed to point out (although we joke about it all the time) is that Savanna's mascot is Johnny Reb and that for decades, the school proudly hung the Stars and Bars!


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