"We’re compelled to ask, is Cal State Long Beach is a campus of cowards? Do we avoid discussing race because it’s too sensitive, or is it because many see racism as a thing of the past?
Rather than looking outward for discussion to begin, perhaps we should take an introspective look at how we address race issues.
Here on campus, a symbol of California’s horridly racist past dances around in costume. To many people of color, the Prospector Pete mascot and the ominous miner statue on the upper campus, combined with the “49er” school spirit iconography — emblazoned on everything from coffee mugs to our beloved sports teams — represent a violent history.
During the Gold Rush, Anglo forty-niners wiped out 80 percent of the American Indian population. From 1849 to 1861, the genocides reduced American Indian populations from approximately 150,000 to less than 30,000.
The mining camps used to advertise “Indian hunts” in local newspapers and store windows. Documentation abounds of bounties offered and paid for Indian scalps. Men were the most valuable, but women and children’s scalps could pay for a drunken night on the town.
Many miners created cottage industries of Indian slavery. Women and children were kidnapped from their villages and sold into domestic servitude or to mining camp brothels."
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Our View-Prospector Pete pleads open dialogue about racism
(The Daily 49er 2/24)