WSU Lucha Libra Mask Giveaway Outrages Latino Student Group

Lucha libre masks may not be the most culturally sensitive way to encourage attendance at college football games, a Latino student organization says.

A livid chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlán, or M.E.Ch.A., is protesting Washington State University’s distribution of 7,500 lucha libre “Cougador” masks and capes at a Halloween night football game, the local press reports.

“The luchador mask is an important cultural symbol to many Chicano/a Latino/a students on the Washington State University campus,” a petition posted on by the group reads. “By taking this symbol and using it as a marketing gimmick the WSU Athletics marketing department is devaluing and decontextualizing a part of the Chicano/Latino cultural identity.”

WSU Director of Athletics Bill Moos sent a one-sentence email to M.E.Ch.A. saying he was aware of their objections, but that the university would go ahead with the Cougador promotion “after careful thought and consideration,” according to the student paper Daily Evergreen.

While the mask giveaway sparked a protest from M.E.Ch.A., other students said the controversy reflected an undue concern with political correctness.

“I’m a naturalized American,” wrote Facebook user Jose Luis Gonzalez. “I was born in México City -- and I can tell you right now that Mexican immigrants (If you don’t believe me, ask any of them) would not find this offensive at all.”



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