West Point Cadets in Sombreros OK. They Just Can’t Pray.
A US Military Academy Facebook photo from their University of Texas at El Paso football victory raised the ire of activists, as it showed the cadets wearing sombreros while being hosted by the largely Hispanic community [emphasis added]:
The school should apologize for the image and take it down, said Lisa Navarrete, an official with the National Council of La Raza, a nonprofit group in Washington that focuses on immigration and other Latino issues. The use of sombreros to represent Latino people is an “old-school and dated stereotype” that offends many people, Navarrete said.
“I am a huge sports fan, so I understand that trashing your opponents in silly and not-so-silly ways is part of the game,” she said. “But I am also old enough to remember when banana peels were thrown at Georgetown University basketball players. Ugly bigotry is still ugly and offensive, even in the context of entertainment.”
With regard to the public perception of West Point events, LtGen Robert Caslen, the West Point Superintendent, previously indicated the offense of others was the standard by which West Point’s events should be judged. Referring to a video in which football players prayed — and which was taken down after Michael “Mikey” Weinstein was “offended” — LtGen Caslen said [emphasis added]
[We] took the video down because it was clear that when some of the complaints started coming in it was offensive to people. So why do we want to put a video that’s going to be offensive to people…its like grinding salt into the wound.
So, naturally, West Point had the same response to La Raza, right? West Point said [emphasis added]:
“The photo was posted as part of the game’s festivities and West Point has no plans to remove the photo,” Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker said. “America’s diversity has always been one of the Army’s greatest strengths, as people of different backgrounds and cultures share their unique experiences and perspective to benefit all.”
West Point let out a big sigh and collectively rolled its eyes, and the photo will stay. Note, too, that in its response West Point actively defended West Point’s culture of inclusion — something it didn’t remotely try to do regarding the prayer, even though “90%” of people supported the right of Army cadets to pray.
The sombrero complaint came from the parent of a cadet, and La Raza wasn’t the only group expressing offense [emphasis added]:
It remains baffling that West Point leaves the photograph online, said Brent A. Wilkes, the national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). It crosses a line from making fun of UTEP to ethnic and racial stereotyping, he said.
Interesting that Wilkes used the same phrase as LtGen Caslen talking about the prayer: “It crosses a line…”
West Point is willing to stand up to accusations of ethnic and racial stereotyping against La Raza and LULAC — despite activist groups claiming cadets’ choice of costumes was racially offensive.
West Point isn’t willing to stand up to criticisms of a football team prayer by an anti-Christian activist — despite laws and policies requiring the government to not only protect religious freedom, but also to not create an environment seemingly hostile to religion.
It seems people have decided what really matters.