Sorry to say I don't know much about Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. I went there once with a cute Vietnamese girl in 2001 to hear Nobel Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu speak, and I once asked South Orange County Community College District trustee and longtime GOP head Tom Fuentes about his feelings regarding the Diocese of Orange sex-abuse scandal (the very first Ex Cathedra story) after a board meeting at the hilly campus. And my chica once presented there, so I had to drop her off.
My first actual visit to the campus happened last week, at a well-attended lecture that was well-attended only because nearly all the attendees earned extra credit. I took a quick glance at the school's newspaper, the Lariat, before my speech and became speechless. There, in the sports page, was the logo for Saddleback's sports teams' nickname, the Gaucho, the fabled cowboy of the Argentine pampas. Except it wasn't a Gaucho--it was a dirty Mexican that looked just like my dirty Mexican!
Above is the logo for my Ask a Mexican! column. Click on the jump to see Saddleback's "gaucho."
Holy frijoles! Only in Orange County can we fuck up our racial stereotypes so royally. Look at him--what exactly is gaucho about the guy? They can't even get the sombrero right--the one Saddleback College's macot wears is a Mexican sombrero, while the type common to Argentina is flat on top. Most gauchos are lean in the popular imagination, not fat like this gent in the American vein of the usual Mexican men tropes. And don't Saddleback administrators know it's Mexicans who are supposed to wear that lecherous, conniving face, not suave Argentines?
Look, Saddleback: if you're going to use Latino stereotypes, at least use the right ones. Compare your gaucho to the one below used by the University of California, Santa Barbara. Notice the flat hat, the eye mask to add a bit of Zorro flair even though the Gay Blade wasn't Argie. Admit that whoever illustrated your "gaucho" instead relied on the Mexican bandito archetype because it's easier to remember than trying to explain the differences among Latin American rancheros. I'd tell ustedes to change it, but isn't it telling that only in Orange County do people not care when a college makes an ethnic mistake as laughable as Saddleback's?
Oh, and before the haters say I'm calling the kettle black: I've always said my column's logo was a dirty Mexican. Now: discuss!
Special shout-out to Dissent the Blog, who wrote about this issue years ago...ustedes should've told me about it then!
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