Queer People of Color Call For San Diego State To Dump Aztec Team Name Immediately

Font Size:

Sure, it’s no “Stormy Petrel,” “Lord Jeff” or “Banana Slug,” but San Diego State University’s “Aztecs” team name and its “Aztec Warrior” mascot are pretty cool.

However, San Diego State’s Queer People of Color Collective, which claims to speak for all “brown bodies,” wants school officials to jettison the mascot, The College Fix reports.

In a resolution submitted to the school’s student council earlier this month, Queer People of Color Collective made its case that the warrior spreads “harmful stereotypes of Native Americans.”

“The continued use of the name ‘Aztec’ and the ‘Aztec Warrior’ mascot perpetuate harmful stereotypes of Native Americans, including the notion that Native Americans are innately violent, dangerous, and ‘savage,’ which is demonstrated by the Aztec Warrior’s aggressive body language, the Aztec Warrior’s use of a spear at special events, the use of a spear on the SDSU Athletics Logo which is printed on uniforms and SDSU memorabilia, and the slogan ‘fear the spear,'” proclaimed the resolution.

The group demands that the public school come up with a new team names and a new mascot. Also, that mascot cannot “use, hold, or operate anything resembling a man-made weapon.”

In defense of the Aztecs, school officials have noted that the debate over the name is well-settled.

“Nearly 10,000 students voted, setting a new SDSU record for a student referendum” about 10 years ago, the school website notes, according to the Fix. At that time, students overwhelmingly approved the current mascot by “by more than a 3:1 ratio.” Over 47,000 alumni endorsed the mascot even more overwhelmingly — by a ratio of nearly 9:1.

In an op-ed in The Daily Aztec supportive of the Aztec name and mascot, SDSU student Anthony Berteaux criticized the “ridiculous argument to eradicate our school mascot, the Aztec Warrior, in the name of combating racism ridicules social justice movements.”

In a meandering, oppositional op-ed, another columnist, Jose Gutierrez, charged that the name Aztecs should be changed because the current descendants of Aztec civilization are “incredibly marginalized and discriminated against in Mexico.” Also, the name Aztecs “keeps racism alive and well” because “just look at the Dutch dressing in blackface every Christmas.”

A poll from this week of over 300 current students shows that only 15 percent want to dump the Aztecs name. Over 65 percent of the students surveyed want to keep the name. The remainder had no idea anyone wants to change the name.

Follow Eric on Twitter. Like Eric on Facebook. Send education-related story tips to