Quartz Hill High School located in the Antelope Valley, 60 miles north-east from Los Angeles, announced it is dropping its mascot. The Quartz Hill Rebels are no more. Instead, the Rebels will get called… something else.
A small yet vocal group of people decided the name and mascot were racially insensitive. For years the mascot was a cartoony Confederate officer brandishing a sword. For the longest time, there was even a Confederate battle flag hanging in the school gym. I know these things because I was a Quartz Hill Rebel, class of ’82.
At no time while going to Quartz Hill High School did I connect any of the school’s Confederate trappings to racism or white supremacy. Maybe I was just nieve. White kids and Black kids didn’t separate themselves from each other. We were all one student body in that regard. People hung out in groups, but the groups weren’t based on race. You had the jocks, rich kids, and the stoners. There were also a lot of smaller groups. I hung out with the drama geeks and the nerds. I spent many a lunch period playing Steve Jackson’s Ogre. One of the schools’s English teachers opened his classroom up at lunch of people to play board games. Goodtimes.
Not in my four years going there did I hear the N-word spoken. I didn’t know any racist kids.
In my mind, it feels like they’re trying to fix a past wrong that doesn’t exist. Don’t like the cartoony Civil War officer? Fine. No problem. That changed some time ago.
The gym no longer has a Confederate battle flag on the wall. I don’t know if its removal was controversial. It was removed after I graduated and before the advent of social media. How did we learn about things before Facebook and Twitter?
I was and will always be a Quartz Hill Rebel
It doesn’t matter what my old school chooses to be its new mascot. I will always be a Quartz Hill Rebel. There was never any malice or racism involved with the mascot. If there was even a whiff of racism or white supremacy associated with it, I’d feel much differently. This move makes me sad because I know our school didn’t have problems with racism. We weren’t a bunch of neo confederates waiting for the day when the South would rise again and the institution of slavery could be brought back.
Quartz Hill High School is in California, not Alabama.
The powers that be should have found a way to retain the Rebel name, yet purge any remaining connections to the Confederacy. Assuming there are any remaining connections. Not all rebels are pro-slavery Confederates. The good guys in Star Wars were rebels. The word “rebel” is not a dirty word.
I’ll close things out by posting our school song.
Where the almond blossoms bloom
And the mountains meet the sky
Stands our alma mater dear
Grand old Quartz Hill High
Quartz Hill High
Quartz Hill High
To you we’ll all be true
Tho’ the years pass swiftly by
We’re loyal to the gold and blue.