Thursday, October 3, 2013

I was discussing high school football...

...with my nephew over the weekend (surprised?) when he told me that Pekin High School in Pekin, Illinois, used to call its athletic teams the "Chinks." I was incredulous, of course, but looked it up in Wikipedia, that final arbiter of all things. Here's what they had to say:

Pekin Community High School District 303 includes Pekin and some nearby areas. The district's high school is Pekin Community High School.

The school teams were known as the Pekin Chinks from the 1930s until 1980 when the school administration changed the nickname to the Dragons. The team mascots were a male and female student dressed as Chinese persons wearing traditional Chinese attire. An earlier attempt was made by a visit of Chinese American groups to change the name from Chinks during the 1974–1975 school year; this was voted down by the student body. The event received national attention.

How did I miss that?

1 comment:

Stanley Chen said...

I gotta tell ya; this is one of my best internet finds in the last 5 years! A little back story; I'm Chinese, but grew up in small towns in Texas, so basically like other small town Texas kids who do what we do. Virtually all my adult life, I've been a coach (football, basketball and track) and taught History.

I'm pretty much again the philosophical basis of "PC", a topic on which we had many a discussion about in my classes over the years. On teams changing their mascots for that reason, I've always said that I might feel differently if there was some team out there called the "Chinks" which my students would always laugh. Now this!

I'm just amazed that I've never heard about it before, since we lived in Illinois for some time.