Is it time that the Padre retires from its mascot duties?

By: JOYCE DOHERTY

A padre is a Christian clergyman, especially of Spanish or Portuguese roots. Then why is it that at every sporting event chants of “Let’s go, Padres!” can be heard coming from the sidelines while the opposing team’s fans are shouting a name much less religiously patronizing?

The First Amendment of the Constitution states a separation between church and state which trickles down to preventing religious teachings in public schools. If our public school, much like any other in the country, upholds this idea, then why do we call ourselves the Padres?

Besides the religious component, the term padre holds a long, discriminatory history in California. Spanish missionaries colonized and forcibly converted multiple indigenous tribes to Catholicism.

According to an article in the San Diego History Center by Robert Heizer, a common principle among missionaries was the belief that Indians were a different order from human beings. Do we really want to call our young athletes racist and crude clergymen?

While many schools have not been plagued with a small plump Padre Bob dancing around at school rallies, multiple schools have employed the Crusader to prance around at school rallies for its memory of chivalry and ferocity, but the modern take on it has been associated with Christian intolerance.

In the case of Elon University, one of many schools to enlist the Crusader as a mascot, the school changed its charter to “under the general control of Christ” to being “affiliated with the church.” With the desire to become an environment of religious tolerance, the school spirit of the Crusader took flight in the form of a Phoenix, according to Dartmouth University.

On a more general note, the padre can be seen as sexist, forcing girls into the awkward position of having to sport sweaters and jerseys spelling out “father.” Recently, a high school in Kentucky changed its mascot—the Stallion—to something more gender-neutral. The change came following a petition through the community, which deemed the male horse inappropriate for their female sports teams.

Across the country, multiple high schools have tried to change their mascots, usually to respect local Native American tribes. However, many have run into the monetary component of retiring mascots that companies, such as Adidas, have offered to help alleviate costs of at replacing uniforms, according to an article by Tony Wagner. When Adidas made the offer in 2015, 2,000 of the 27,000 high schools across the country qualified for assistance.

However, Jeff Leo, the superintendent of Banks School District, said the estimated costs of changing a mascot of 75 years could be $70,000 or more, including updating uniforms, gym floors and stadiums. This is obviously one of the aspects to consider.

Carmel High’s mascot does not hold onto the principles and values of this public school, one that celebrates academic and athletic excellence. By instituting a religious mascot, are we hindering diversity on campus? Are we preventing the student body from celebrating our differences and instead pretending to live under the ignorant shield that “it does not matter”?

While the padre is something historically unique to our area, we should not have its title written across our track, field and banners. It is time that we search for a spirited animal or object, not a robed, bald white man who enslaved natives.