La Puma Must Change its Name

It has been brought to the attention of our staff that our newspaper name, La Puma, is grammatically incorrect and offensive. In light of these concerns, La Puma staff members are preparing to change its name.

The 2 people who have been big advocates for changing the magazine’s name are Spanish teacher and Language Department Chair Concha Martinez and French teacher Ed Willy.

According to Willy, our name is an example of “mock Spanish.”

The term mock Spanish is used to describe Spanish phrases that are used as appropriation in the U.S. as well as globally.

Martinez said that although most spanish words that end in “a” are feminine, there are exceptions to this rule. The Spanish word “puma” is an example of this.

“By calling the newspaper ‘La Puma’ instead of ‘The Puma’ you are giving the idea that you are using a Spanish word [which] is great to show the Spanish roots that Moraga has. But if you are using a foreign language you need to use it correctly, otherwise it is disrespectful to the language,” said Martinez.

Now that we are aware our name is an example of mock Spanish, I’m anxious to change it entirely or to make sure it’s grammatically correct to repair any damage the name has done.

“I am personally indifferent to the name and have no problem with changing it if it is found to be offensive by others,” said former journalism advisor Chuck Woolridge.

It’s definitely ironic that the name of our magazine is grammatically incorrect, even after decades of the student journalism staff writing under the name. Nonetheless, we are glad that the issue has been brought to our attention so we can right this wrong.

So whether we decide to call the newspaper El Puma or come up with an entirely new name, the change has been long overdue.

“Whatever new name you guys decide, if using a different language, make sure that you are using it correctly both grammatically and culturally,” said Martinez. “Talk to native speakers to make sure that it doesn’t offend anybody.”