So, Padres. I kind of wonder whose idea that was—when CHS was founded in 1940, who was like, “YES. THIS MASCOT. TOO GOOD.” Because, honestly, it’s not even that fun: It doesn’t invoke any kind of competitive imagery or anything, it’s just a sanitized, palatable cartoon of the trainwreck of a person who was Junipero Serra.
As your friendly neighborhood worrywart (or “PC police,” as I’ve been called), I’m here to discuss exactly why having the Padre as Carmel High School’s mascot was—and is—a terrible idea.
1. Imperial Spain was literally so awful.
I know what you’re thinking: “But Elizabeth, what’s so bad about Father Serra’s murderous march through California with the ultimate intent to convert as many Native Americans as possible into Catholicism and therefore mainstream Spanish culture? I mean, he was a friar and was later canonized, meaning there’s no possible way he could be a bad person.” The thing about Spanish colonialism is that unless the “heathens” (in Carmel’s case, the Ohlone people) were properly converted to Catholicism, they didn’t receive any semblance of human dignity. Even when baptized, they were undeniably treated as lessers by white Spaniards—just look at the dozens of nameless “Indian Graves” at the Carmel Mission. The racial implications of the Padre as our mascot are pretty gross.
2. It’s sexist.
Now, I’m not saying that we should be calling our female athletes the Madres, because that would be weird, and I really would prefer for our mascot to just be changed, but is “Lady Padres” really the best we can do? Honestly, the fact that we have gender-specific names for our athletes is a little annoying. It also calls to mind the fact that women still can’t be ordinated in the Catholic church. Which brings me to my next point…
3. We aren’t a Catholic school.
I don’t really understand why we have a religious figure as our mascot when we’re most definitely a public school. I understand that it’s not quite on the level of holding mass in the school theatre, but can we keep church-related business as far as possible from our education?
4. It’s killing our collective aesthetic.
Granted, this isn’t as serious a reason to change our mascot as being socially offensive, but can you blame me for caring about our general feel as a school? Just imagine how much better life here would be if our mascot was a flowering cactus. Or a Rothko painting. Or, oh my gosh, how good would that one painting of the woman in the yellow cardigan be in our school library? Please.
Honestly, anything would be more visually compelling than a balding, berobed white man.