A senior at Caldwell High School, Idaho, was pulled from class for violating the dress code by wearing a brown hoodie. He did not sit well with the student, as he led a brown pride protest on Tuesday, January 17. Photos and videos of the protest went viral on social media.
Brenda Hernández, the student whose hoodie started the controversy, organized a protest to defend her Mexican culture. Netizens responded to the demonstration in various ways. While some jeered, others supported the students and their cause.
One user shared a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. and wrote:
“Really? This is where we are?”
According to Brenda Hernandez, she was wearing a hoodie with the words “brown pride” on it and an Aztec mural on the front. She added:
“Same thing in the back, but in the back, I had lowriders, nothing inappropriate; He was covered up and he wasn’t breaking the dress code that I knew.”
Hernandez was removed from class for wearing this hoodie and violating the dress code the school had established. She was informed that the hoodie had gang affiliations. Hernández has already started a petition for her cause, and she already has more than 400 signatures.
Idaho Brown Pride protest sparked debate on social media
Brenda Hernández shared a video of the protest on her TikTok and Instagram accounts. In the video, she wrote in the subtext that teachers told her to remove her brown pride hoodie because it might look racist and was similar to wearing a white pride shirt. Hernandez claimed that the teachers lied to her when she told her that she could walk inside the building before her class. She wrote:
“…and she told me at the last second that she couldn’t”
Although she received positive feedback from people who supported her for calling a protest, not everyone on other social media platforms had a similar opinion on this matter.
Many mocked the students for organizing a protest to defend Mexican culture while writing their slogans in English on banners and not using Spanish. They also made fun of how these students were trying to keep their Mexican culture alive while living in the United States.
While a few others chimed in to speak up for the Caldwell High student movement, explaining how it was wrong to draw similarities between brown pride and white pride or call it reverse racism.
Edin Alex Enamorado shared the protest video on his TikTok account and pointed out how the state of Idaho is known to be racist and advocates bigotry. They said that 81% of Idaho’s population consists of white people, with people of color being discriminated against more often.
Poder Idaho Executive Director, Estefania Mondragon said:
“It’s just disgusting, disturbing behavior by adults towards students, as we saw in some of these TikTok videos. There’s even physical violence against students of color within the Caldwell school system.”
State Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, Sunny Ligas said:
“I’m not trying to be racist, but it’s mostly white people who don’t understand the terminology or the culture, and they keep misrepresenting it, saying they’re gangs and gangs and gangs. That’s not the point.”
Calwell High Principal Anita Wilson addressed the issue, saying her dress code is relatively stricter than other school districts because her school has had gang problems before, and ‘Brown Pride’ has a direct link to the gangs.
After the Brown Pride protest at Caldwell High School on Thursday morning, graffiti reading “white power” was drawn all over the school. The Caldwell Police Department and the Caldwell School District are currently investigating vandalism as a hate crime.