This is a true story, and some of you might not enjoy it. Proceed with caution.
I used to have a side job, beside teaching. Actually, that isn't a used to thing. I still have side hustle. Pretty much all teachers have some sore of side gig - something to cover the cost of all those pencils, papers, and markers we buy.
Anywho, I used to wait tables. I was mildly okay at it. For awhile, my perfectionist nature was really pushing me to be the
I used to work with this kid, named Mo. Mo was cool, and a hard worker. He was a host, and used to seat sections really fairly and treat the guests with good manners. Working with Mo was kind of funny because a few years before we did our time in the restaurant together, I was Mo's 9th grade English teacher. It was a pretty unique situation.
Of course, what made the whole thing even MORE unique was that when Mo was in my English class, he was a girl named Joy.
Mo knew I knew who he was, or used to be, and I knew that I knew who Mo used to be. We never talked about it though. I accepted things as they were. Mo introduced himself as Mo, a new employee at my job, and I worked with him. Some people I worked with knew Mo used to be a girl and made it a point to use she/her.
It didn't matter what my opinions were about Mo and Mo's life. Those are his decisions, and it seemed to me that the very least I could do was listen to him, and call him by the name he told me to call him: Mo. Mo didn't need a lecture. He needed compassion, and it doesn't make me a special or extra-kind person if that's what I did. It is the least I could do.
Mo and I had a great relationship at work, and sometimes, during our break, he would ask me so pretty deep, pretty big philosophical questions. He always started the conversations. I don't think he would've talked to me about anything deep at all, if we hadn't built a relationship built on respect, and it started with his name.
Which is why I find the whole Napa High mascot thing a little bit perplexing. I am a graduate of Napa High, and wore the old marching band uniforms -- in fact, I wore the SAME marching band uniform that my Uncle wore -- LITERALLY. We had the same number. (Band uniforms have numbers on the inside to make sure you turn in the right one at the end of the season - *geek info).
I do understand that it will be expensive to change everything they would need to change, and LORD knows, as a teacher in the district, I understand the concept that budgets are tight, but the truth is that we've been arguing about our mascot since I was in high school. We could easily have made the change when the budget was better.
I guess, it is hard for me to have an opinion. I am not Native American. I mean, I am, genetically; a little bit, but it is really far back, and never been a part of my family culture. How can I determine if it is bad to keep our mascot or not? It isn't my call. I mean, if someone comes to me and says, "Look, when you say that, it really offends me." It isn't my place to say, "No, it doesn't." Or I can't say, "Well, I said it to that other guy, and it didn't bug him." I can only take people at their word. A committee met, discussed it, and came to a conclusion.
Will it be strange if my own children go to the high school I graduated from and call themselves "The Gophers" or the "Fighting Unicorns"? Probably, but it is pretty weird to see your kids going to your school, anyway. Time keeps marching on, you know. It won't change the fact that they, and I, will all be Napa High Graduates. We will have walked the same halls, and had some of the same experiences, and will be united by a love of blue and gold, and an aversion for all things Vintage.