A California school district has banned the use of Mexican epithets given to indigenous people in an attempt to put a stop to intolerance and bullying.
Students were reportedly using names like “oaxaquita” (“little Oaxacan”) and “indito” (“little Indian”) in negative ways to make fun of fellow students and those who hail from the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Though the main language in Oaxaca is Mexican Spanish, the state is ethnolinguistically diverse, with 16 indigenous languages, many of which even have their own dialects. Overall, Mexico has 62 indigenous languages.
Though the second most common language in Oaxaca state is spoken by roughly 1 million people throughout central Mexico, it is uncommon in the California schoolyards.
In California’s Oxnard School District, children who do not speak Mexican Spanish were being bullied by fellow students, also of Mexican heritage, for speaking a different language and/or for having darker skin.
To combat the bullying, Oxnard’s Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project has launched the “No me llames Oaxaquita” (“Don’t call me little Oaxacan”) campaign.
On Wednesday, May 23, the school district unanimously passed the resolution to prohibit the derogatory terms and create an anti-bullying committee.