A series of racially insensitive signs at a themed high school football game in Southern California sparked an unanticipated firestorm on Friday night when the principals of the two schools disagreed on whether or not the situation was appropriate.
As chronicled by the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL, among other outlets, Friday’s football game between Aliso Niguel and Santa Ana in Orange County, Calif. became controversial when members of the Aliso Niguel school showed up with signs declaring, “We will Trump you” and “We love white,” and “Build the wall.”
As soon as he saw the signs, Santa Ana principal Greg Bishop became enraged and demanded they be taken down. While it’s unknown if they were removed during or before the game, the signs were clearly made to underscore the disparity in racial makeup of the two schools; while Aliso Niguel’s student population is predominantly white, Santa Ana students are 99 percent Hispanic, per KCAL.
“This is no different than our national discourse, but this is one principal who is not going to stand for it,” Bishop told The Times. …
“After talking to the principal and watching her and her assistant principals snag the signs away from these disrespectful and out-of-control students — it seemed to help,” Bishop posted on Facebook. “Afterwards, it became more about football, athleticism and a healthy competition.”
That wasn’t until after Aliso Niguel’s own principal, Deni Christensen, had confiscated at least three signs from the stands: The aforementioned “We will Trump you” sign, another reading “Trump 2020” and, finally, a “Bring back Obama” sign.
And while she said that no Aliso Niguel administrators saw any “Build the Wall,” signs, Christensen couldn’t rule out that it may have been posted and then taken down before it was seen.
While some Aliso Niguel parents and supporters defended the signs, which were posted on the school’s red-white-and-blue-themed game, at least one observer decried the sentiments as clearly racist.
“No matter how folks wants to downplay the chants, the signs, by the home team, this is racism. This is how folks express racism in 2018,” Jeffrey Dickman, a county trail and bikeway coordinator, commented on one of Bishop’s Facebook posts about the game. “Aliso Viejo should act quickly to disavow the hate messages from its students and insure our beloved symbols are distinguished from its opposites.”