Fifteen-year-old Lilly Mixon did not expect San Clemente High School football fans to repeatedly hurl racial slurs at her when she cheered for her San Diego school on Friday.
Mixon, who is black and a majorette for Lincoln High School, said she faced multiple white people calling her the N-word, three of whom told her directly to her face. Despite the display of racism from a younger child, a teenager and an adult woman on the San Clemente campus, Mixon kept right on cheering.
“They called my friend Ricardo a beaner,” Mixon said. “They were yelling at us saying that our cheerleaders were dogs and they belonged on leashes and that we don’t belong here and to go back to our country.”
On Saturday, Mixon posted her frustration with the Orange County encounter to her Instagram account, where she received a myriad of comments, both supportive and disparaging. People from San Clemente sent her messages apologizing on behalf of the town, but others called her a liar and a sore loser who is just upset that her Hornets lost to the San Clemente High Tritons, 29-0.
But majority-white San Clemente High School is conducting an investigation into the incident, according to Principal Chris Carter. Lincoln High School, which consists of mostly Hispanic and black students, has launched an investigation as well.
In a statement, Carter said that he plans to take “specific action,” to ensure that everyone feels welcome on campus, but he did not describe what form that action would take.
On Monday, Lincoln’s Vice Principal Eric Brown interviewed students who came forward with allegations of racial hatred, according to a statement from that school’s principal, Stephanie Brown.
It wasn’t just the racial slurs that made the Lincoln students uncomfortable, according to Yazmine Sua-Sanchez, one of the students who alleged San Clemente football-goers called her the N-word. Sua-Sanchez added that she and her classmates received dirty looks and an air of hostility even before people openly unleashed racial slurs.
The San Diego NAACP took notice of the event, and called on San Clemente High School to enact the following actions:
1: Institute a program of implicit bias training for all their athletics staff, including coaches and administrators.
2: Provide an administrative contact to each opposing team who will be responsible for addressing such activity the moment it occurs at any future athletic contest.
3: An announcement over the public address system at all remaining 2019-2020 athletic contests reaffirming that respect is to be shown to all visiting athletes.
As of press time, San Clemente High School has not responded to the San Diego NAACP’s list of demands.
As for Mixon, she’d just like to see San Clemente residents behave better.
“I don’t understand how you can disrespect a whole group of people,” Mixon said. “Everybody was so excited for the game and when we left we felt like garbage.”
An editorial intern and news junkie with a hankering for all things spicy, Jackson gained a passion for journalism writing about housing and homelessness in the Bay Area for the Daily Californian and the Tenderloin Tribune. When not writing, Jackson can be found rambling to anyone who listens about old movies no one else cares about. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.