Opinion: Former school changing mascot, and I’m disgusted

(Note: I sent this to Guy Bailey in an email, but not so much of an acknowlegement since yesterday, I decided to share it here.)

To Guy Bailey, President of the future University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
(formerly Texas-Pan American and Texas-Brownsville)

At first, those of us who attended UTPA didn’t like removing “Broncs” as the mascot for the new school, although I know why that had to be done. UTB had already gone through a name change (from Texas Southmost College-Texas-Brownsville to just UTB), and a mascot change (from Scorpions to Ocelots), and it would just be in everyone’s best interestt to just share one mascot unafiliated with either school.

But really? Your choice of recommending “Vaqueros” as a mascot is both ignorant of the ethnic makeup of the people of the Rio Grande Valley and just hideous, period.

Yes, the majority of the student body has roots in Mexico, if they’re not commuting from Mexico as it is. But there are white students, black students, students of Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Japanese, Philipino and various other ethnicities that have lived in the Valley all their lives or are enrolled at the campus. Not only is this mascot misrepresentitive of their culture, it’s just not what the school needs.

Have you not noticed how beautifully and wonderfully different the Valley people look? From every earthly background, culture, religion and customs? It’s truly a melting pot, and you have just set those efforts back to 1968.

The fact you chose a mascot in Spanish goes to show just how out of touch you are of the student body you are supposed to represent. In an area of the state where the natives are trying to assimilate to an American culture after generations of embracing just one (the Mexican culture), you told them you haven’t noticed their willingness to streamline with the rest of this beautiful country.

“Vaqueros,” Spanish for “Cowboys,” was part of our heritage, no doubt. But the fact that folks keep trying to force-feed our own culture back down our throats has got to stop. You’re in Texas. The land of Longhorns, Red Raiders, Bobcats, Roadrunners, Cougars, Aggies, Bears and Horned Frogs. But you went with “Vaqueros.”

I guess you think our sentences start or end in, “Si señor.” Go try some Indian food, Chinese, Japanese, hell even Mongolian. Try and hit up the mall, a few flea markets and catch a football game. Go to mass and then go to temple. Educate youself in what Valley culture is, and it’s not one-dimensional.

If you decide to put on some huaraches, zarape and sombrero and sip tequila, that’s fine, too. Maybe go lean up on a cactus and have a siesta while you’re at it.

Hey, that would have been a great alternative. The UTRGV Nopales! (cactus)

P.S. Don’t get me started on the color pallet you recommended … woof! And yes, I did fill out the questionnaire.

(This is where I speak in the third-person)

Oscar Gonzalez Jr. is a freelance journalist, meaning he is poor and will mow your lawn for a price, and a Mexican Coke. You can catch him on LinkedIn, on WixFacebook, and Twitter.


4 thoughts on “Opinion: Former school changing mascot, and I’m disgusted

  1. On another note: I am a student (4th year) at The University of Texas at Austin. Yes, our mascot is the Longhorn…Hook ’em, Horns! But, I’m from the Valley, born and raised. I don’t understand this that you wrote: “But the fact that folks keep trying to force-feed our own culture back down our throats has got to stop. You’re in Texas.”….force feed our own culture? how does someone do that? YOU ARE IN THE VALLEY….SMACK DAB IN THE SOUTHERNMOST TIP OF TEXAS….once a part of the southwest that was indigenous, then Spanish colonized, then colonized by anglos…what the heck is wrong with keeping our culture? are you ashamed of it? because that’s what I’m getting from your objection….there seems to be a greater problem with embracing “our culture” from Valleyites than from people in the rest of Texas…we (students) have a newly-organized student group called…wait for it: LA NUEVA GENERACION ESTUDIANTIL DE TEJAS…*GASP* did we dare embrace our culture??? yes, we did and we have and we do…no shame felt by any of us….not sure what the heck is wrong with “Vaqueros”….what do you want to be called “COWBOYS”? do you want to feed into the assimilation?

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