Against Monty Montezuma and the Racist Aztec Warrior

editorial submission, November 2003

The sudden call for a vote on the Monty Makeover comes as a small surprise. After all, last I knew the faculty had reached a conclusion that only a faculty could reach—that the term “Aztec” has nothing to do with people and therefore the name would be kept, but the cartoon Monty would be dumped. Now comes New Monty, claiming to leap from history, spear once again in hand. Of course, for many Aztecs, and the people they met, the reality of human sacrifice rather outmatches the betrayal some faculty must feel, after somehow splitting the hair on what an Aztec is or was.

Now my email box fills with calls from faculty , urging a meeting and a chance to vote on all this. Odd that alums so far from the campus will vote, but it appears faculty will not.

Still, I don’t think there should be a vote on the Makeover Monty. This thing, this commodity for sale to the chumps, which is all it is, should be stopped. I see three problems:

(1) New Monty is a racist and sexist “theatrical characterization” (according to his creator) of a complex society and the choice of this particular character only glorifies the worst aspects of that society--inverting a university's purpose, the construction of reason.

(2). There is no abstract “right to vote” in favor of racism and sexism. This rush to vote is not a demonstration of democracy or shared governance, but a perversion of democracy and only shares in constructing oppression. Students, after all, did not get a chance to vote on the recent massive tuition increases, and profs will only get a chance to assist in the organization of their own layoffs, not a vote on whether the layoffs will occur. Real democracy is halted as soon as things get important.

 (3). The commonly held notion that SDSU needs a male warrior (human representation) mascot to build school unity is a dangerous idea, promoting a deeper sentiment that we must join together in common action based on our united interests (in a community about to lay off perhaps 20 percent of its people, where students are denied entrance and classes) to engage in battle against others who are set up with the same bogus view-- by their own rulers. That should be chilling, inside a society run by wealthy elites, promising its citizens perpetual war.

If there is to be solidarity on campus, it should be the united students, faculty, and community people taking collective action to prevent the destruction of the SDSU community of scholars through tuition hikes, exclusion of students, and layoffs—by the same people who often promote sales items like New Monty, wealthy beneficiaries of an unjust tax system and their campus mouthpieces. Same enemy. Same fight. Makeover Monty will probably not be assigned to assist in that.

A community meeting to discuss Makeover Monty (hardly a feather different from Old Monty or Privatized Monty), the interesting processes of the market and ideology that caused the remarkable and secretive retreat the New Monty represents, might be interesting. At the end, though, Makeover Monty should become a pinnata.

Rich Gibson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Education


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