A photo posted by the West Point Facebook page has caused quite a controversy among Latino groups.
The photo shows a West Point cadet wearing a sombrero while another cadet holds one in the air while cheering at an Army versus University of Texas El Paso football game that took place close to Mexico on Saturday. The photo was then posted after Army’s win, the Washington Post reported
National Council of La Raza official Lisa Navarrete told the Washington Post that West Point should apologize for the photo and remove it from Facebook. She told The Post that using sombreros to represent Latinos is an “old school and dated stereotype” that many find offensive.
“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,” Navarrete told The Post. “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.”
A West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker said they will not remove the photo, stating that the school is “rich with Hispanic heritage.”
“The photo was posted as part of the game’s festivities, and West Point has no plans to remove the photo,” Kasker told The Post. “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.”
However, West Point also made headlines after posting a video of Coach Jeff Monken leading a staff member to start a team prayer last year.
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Casen Jr. told The Post the video was taken down a couple days after.
Fox News Latino reports that founder and CEO of the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts Felix Sanchez first saw the photo on his Facebook newsfeed and found it “extraordinarily offensive.”
In spite of the controversy, West Point is adamant that it won’t remove the recent photo from Facebook.
“Not only did they not stop this from happening, they stuck it up on their Facebook page as though they think it’s okay,” Brent A. Wilkes, the national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens told The Post. “If this is what they think is okay with reaching out to the Latino community, they need a reboot on their diversity strategies on their campus.”
Army won against the University of Texas El Paso, 66-14.
(h/t The Daily Caller)