First of all I keep thinking of the episode on the Office where they have to go through diversity training because of Michael's blunders. That and Stephen Colbert. Particularly when my coworkers say "I just don't SEE color!" (Skip to minute 5:00 - basically word for word what I hear.)
So the cultural competency educator came back yesterday and had us go through actual scenarios from our school. One of the scenarios we went through was the chili pepper incident. (Second update here.) The Spanish teacher brought out the actual poster in question (with the chili pepper wearing the sombrero and mustache, saying "Ole!"). And, to my great vindication, the trainer confirmed that this is not a poster that we should have hanging up if our mission is to create an environment of respect for all cultures.
By the end of the morning, however, I still don't think that all of my coworkers agreed. Why should they, when half the staff and the students watch and love the incredibly offensive comedy of Jeff Dunham, which includes this exact same stereotype? If it's okay for a comedian to perform it and Comedy Central to air it, why wouldn't it be okay for staff and students to hang similar pictures in their work spaces?
The cultural competency educator was good, but she wasn't going to change people's deeply held beliefs about what "should" and "shouldn't" be offensive. That's frustrating to me because it means some people think it's okay to do things that could be hurtful to kids. And that means we're right back where we started before we spent $1000 on the training.