Sports teams ( that Time has deemed offensive )
Public attitudes towards what is and what is not acceptable have changed over the years. As more and more organizations change their names to reflect political correctness, here is a look back at the more extreme examples of Sports teams that time has deemed offensive.
Pekin, Illinois was named because it was half way around the world from the real Peking. But apparently the new settlers thought they were so much cooler than the other boring old school Peking that they dropped the “g”. I’m from Pekin Yo!
Before the political correctness-Nazis came and ruined everyone’s fun, the fine people of Pekin woke up one day and thought “hmmm we need a name for our high school sports teams.” So, they all sat down and threw out some ideas, “What will inspire victory and be an easily marketable T-shirt … Pekin Predators? No sounds like a team of child molesters. Pekin Pirates? No we don’t want to offend those swashbucklers … I know, the Pekin Chinks!”
Yes the Pekin Chinks. The Chinks became a honored tradition. The team mascot was a kid dressed wearing a coolie outfit and he would strike a gong every time someone scored a goal or dunked a ball. Every year the school would elect a Chink and Chinkette who appeared at sporting events and school functions.
The school teams were officially known as the Pekin Chinks until 1980 when the school administration changed the nickname to the Pekin Dragons. The move was hotly contested by the student body and still annoys former students. One such disgruntled student reflects on how the PC police stole his heritage: “We interpreted Chink to be a term meaning “worker”, and we were proud “workers” for Pekin High. I still have the glasses, letter sweater, etc. ”
Before the Braves moved to Atlanta, the capital of Georgia had their own AAA baseball team the Atlanta Crackers. Not happy with one team the city decided it needed two Crackers and the so the Negro league created the Atlanta Black Crackers. After the desegregation of baseball the Black Crackers lost most of its players, disbanding in 1952.
The Braves have a long history starting as the Boston Braves in 1912. They stayed in Boston (Babe Ruth played for the Boston Braves) until being moved to Milwaukee and then finally to Atlanta. When the Braves came to Atlanta there was no thought to changing the name much to the annoyance of Native American groups.
Orientals and the Arabs
The Ohio high school imaginatively named, East High, used the nickname the East High Arabs for its sports teams. In the 40s the Arabs wasn’t invoking the fighting spirit that the school sought. So the teams sports teams were changed to the awe inducing Orientals . Because nothing says faster/stronger/harder than … Orientals. The mostly white school stubbornly held unto the name for decades citing school history. It wasn’t until April, 2010 that they dropped the name for something more neutral.
Before that evil Hitler guy screwed everything up the Swastika used to be a popular and well used symbol. Even now westerners visiting Japan might be shocked to look at a map and see swastikas everywhere (Swastikas mark the location of temples in Japan). Before those pesky German Nazis, in Canada alone, there were at least three hockey teams called the “Swastikas”. The women’s team, the Fernie Swastikas, were active in the 20s winning the 1923 Alpine Cup at the Banff Winter Carnival women’s ice hockey championship. There were two other teams called the Swastikas, one in Edmonton, Alberta, and another mens team the Windsor Swastikas in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
Robstown Cotton Pickers
Robstown High School is a school in Robstown Texas where the population is mostly Hispanic. Their sports teams are called the Cotton Pickers and no one (there) has a problem with it. In fact if you want to support the Cotton Pickers you can get your own collection of Cotton Pickin’ hoodies and T-shirts here.
The Fighting Whites basketball team, live by their credo: “Everything is going to be all white”. Mislabeled the Fighting Whities by the evil liberal mainstream media, they were created to showcase the mad b-ball skills and to prove that White men can jump. J/K, actua lly the Fighting Whites were a group of Native Americans and other minorities who formed an intramural basketball team at the University of Northern Colorado in 2002 as a political statement against Athletic teams who use images of Native Americans. The team’s name created a media storm and their t-shirts ended up being a top seller but they had to include the statement, “Fighting the use of Native American stereotypes” to prevent the shirts being used by White supremacist groups.
When thinking up of a nickname for their sports team Dickinson State and Eastern Washington wanted something to inspire their athletes. What better way to inspire fear than the imagery of “Native Americas” running down poor innocent white farmers with hatchets. Not happy with the seemingly weak names like red skins or braves they wanted a name that would put the fear of God into their opponents, thus the Savages were born! They kept the name for decades until time caught up with them and the theme was dropped to “promulgate the worth and dignity of the individual regardless of race or creed.”
However across the country there still remain many “Savages” including the banner for this entry the Sacramento Savages in California.
The Dangerous Darkies were a soccer team that played in the South Africa Association football club. The, city of Nelspruit, club played in the National Soccer League from 1991-92. They were bought up by Mpumalanga Black Aces but were reformed in 2002 as the Darkies.
Wahpeton, North Dakota is a small town in the wastelands of North Dakota. The local high school seeking a suitable name for their high athletic programs choose a name that would strike fear into anyone that competed with them. Saying a lot about North Dakota culture the Wahpeton school body choose the Wahpeton Wops. Apparently the scariest thing they could think of was a horde of Catholic Italians pillaging the prairies. For a mascot they, and I’m not kidding, a dude running around with a purple sheet over his head with eye holes cut out, a sort of purple KKK anti-Italian outfit. They even had a Wop chant:
We are the Wops, the mighty mighty Wops, everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell them, WE ARE THE WOPS.
In 1924 Frisco a suburb just north of Dallas Texas had a problem with aggressive raccoons terrorizing their neighbourhood. Seeking to inspire the local high school the school board named their athletic team the “Fighting Coons” It took until 2002 before the city thought, “Hey this might be offensive to some people in our community” and changed the name to the Fighting RACOONS … just to be clear. Not everyone was for the new name with a vocal protest movement seeking to cling to the old logo chanting such protest ditties as “Don’t Rac my Coons.”
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FYI re the Pekin Chinks. The spelling of the city was the common Anglicization of “Peking” in the United States during the 1700s and 1800s — maps produced by English-speakers back then would show “Pekin” as the name of China’s capital. The old story is as you have it: that Pekin, Illinois, was named because Peking/Beijing is on the other side of the world at a similar latitude. However, there are a few other Pekins in the U.S., presumably named after Peking, China, but not at a similar latitude or anything like that. Presumably the old story about how Pekin, Illinois, got its name is correct, but it might be just an old story. In any case, the China connection was known and accepted very early on. According to Chuck Dancey, retired journalist and editor from the Peoria Journal Star, it was one of the newspaper predecessors of the PJStar (either the Peoria Journal or the Peoria Star — I don’t remember which) that first started referring to Pekin residents as “Chinks” — that was about 100 years ago. Sometime after that the high school decided to adopt “Chinks” as the team name and mascot.
It’s understandable that “Chinks” would be seen as offensive and racist, though many of the old Pekin high school alumni who still love their school’s old traditions have no racist intent. It’s for the best that the name was changed. It’s also kind of interesting that Pekin has a few Chinese restaurants — one of them was founded by a family of Chinese immigrants who, when they found out that “Pekin” was meant to recall “Peking,” thought Pekin would be the perfect place for them to start a Chinese buffet.
“no racist intent”? have ever been to that town or read its history??
Yes, I’ve been there, and know of its history, too. I’d wager I know its history rather well.
It remains the case that many of the old Pekin high school alumni who still love their school’s old traditions have no racist intent, despite the fact that “Chinks” and the attendant traditions are racially insensitive at best and unacceptable.
Hey. Akron East High is still The Orientals
Up in Canada we’re still Swastika proud- there’s a small town in Northern Ontario called Swastika.
Maybe it’s because I’m European but I honestly don’t see what’s wrong with “East High Orientals”. If the school is called “East High” then Oriental makes perfect sense … ?
Yep its just a nuance and Americas obsession with “political correctness”. Nonsense.
Political Correctness or just common decency? Not to mention common sense and a basic understanding of American history.
If the “Fighting Whities” is supposed to be offensive to us Caucasians, it is a failure. After all, “Whities” defeated the natives and forced them onto reservations and slaughtered the rest. Why would they *not* name their team after us? In fact, I was more offended because my first thought was that it would be a team of white supremacists. But learning it was a team of native Americans, I said “good on ya, eh.”
The fact they have to add a political statement on the shirts to prevent them from being worn by white supremacists, further shows what a failure the idea became.
Re: Savages– Gun maker “Savage Arms” uses a tribal chief as its logo:
How did you miss the Richard Bombers?
It’s Richland Bombers not Richard, and how is that offensive to anyone?
Probably the Pekin “Chinks” isn’t as offensive as incarcerated white supremacist leader Matthew Hale growing up in nearby East Peoria. But what do I know…
You missed another one. Until a few years ago, the Wahpeton ND High School teams were the Wahpeton Wops.
Right. Nobody cares about Italians.
A football team at an old mental hospital (The Brandon Mental Health Centre) near my town.
Keep up the good work!
My mom was a Pekin Chink. I thought about it yesterday, and researched it today, wondering how that decision ever came about. Good info.
I was a Pekin Chink… well I was as a F&S … Then Pekin changed it in 1980 & my next 2 years it was Pekin Dragons. Kinda pissed the students off when they changed it. I remember the mascot wearing the coolie outfit with the pointed hat. I don’t remember people being so upset with the Chinks name until they changed it. It wasn’t just the high school that used the Chinks name…Anyone remember the “Chink Rink” as being the name of the roller skating rink on the north side of town? The Chink Rinks sign had a logo of a short coolie wearing character on roller skates with slanted eyes kinda like this >'< Seriously
Sweet, sweet America.
Added another one:
Cracker is a nickname for a pistol
cracker came from the man who would whip the slaves back in the day
“cracker came from the man who would whip the slaves back in the good ole days”
“Cracker” is not a derogatory term.
Lemont (Ill.) High School was known as the Injuns until 2005.
East High in Rochester, NY is known as the Orientals. Old West High was known as the Occidentals. Not everything is racist- You liberal nuts need to get over yourselves.
For the record, I went to the high school that your “fighting whities” protested against. Local news and radio stations were present due to picketers. One local station even had a petition to change the name to the Beavers (Eaton High School) and sold t shirts (I own one, no picture, and after a state baseball victory, a second T-shirt was sold at Spencer’s locally).
wasnt but a few years ago..when the housing in peoria was closing down…that pekin was basicly all white
Cracker was a term used lower-class, rough-cut, Scotch-Irish immigrants of the 18th century and found in the Carolinas and Georgia; think Poor White Trash. These people would often make their living by hiring themselves out as animal drovers or “whip crackers” which was shortened to “cracker”. These folk would not have the money to be slave holders the association with the cracker origin coming from whipping slaves is false.
By the way, I can say cracker as in “Wassup my cracker?” but you can’t…that’s our word. You can however refer to it as the “c-word”.
Thanks for this interesting article.
What’s very curious is that the Pekin Chinks had a little fat mascot called the Pekin Chunk.
I graduated from Pekin high school in 1958,yes we were proud chinks that walked the LeeWay from the dragons den.I lived in Oregon for the nwxt43 years,heard about the name change in 1980 and have been bitter about every since. why did they ever give in to a minority group that thought the name chinks would affend someone? CHANGE IT BACK!!!
it DID offend someone, many folks as a matter of fact and I credit that ceremonious name change to opening my own eyes about objectifying other races. YOU may not care and thats your perogotive. It took a long time for Americans to curtail their use of the N word and now its not openly thrown about. Thats called progress and thats where we are headed. Join us whining and screaming if you’d like but we’ll be careful not to call you a derogotory name.
I am a Chink and will always be a Pekin Chink… I and others are proud to stand tall on this one… we never did anything derogatory against anyone and it was ridiculous when the “BOAT people” marched into our school cafeteria in 1975 and tried to force us to change it. I am sorry that the good citizens of Pekin lost their battle and it was changed to Dragons. Love my t shirt “old chinks never die they just “drag on”. Peking is our celestial sister city and I remember a couple of times people coming to visit and were honored we were chinks. By the way are you going to make western chinks for ranchers change their name too?
Where can I buy a t-shirt for Pekin Chink?
Right next to the Swastika store.
“Cracker” might have been a reference to the “crack of a bat”, a phrase sometimes used to describe the sound of someone getting a hit. The implication being that they get a lot of hits.
Just to set the story stright, I am from the central Illinois area. Long has it been told according to local legend Pekin got it’s name from Peking, China. Not true. The man that originally platted the town’s last name was Perkin. They just dropped the “r”.
You are mistaken, Brad. Major Isaac Perkins (not Perkin) was indeed one of the original platholders of Pekin, but the name had nothing to do with him. The minutes from the Jan. 19, 1830 meeting in which the settlers voted in favor of the name “Pekin” do not say why that name was chosen, but we do know that “Pekin” was then then-currently spelling of Peking/Beijing. In addition, Pekin pioneer Jacob Tharp, who came to Pekin in 1825 before the town was organised, referred to Pekin as “the celestial city” in his diary in 1860, indicating that by then the local legend was already established. There’s also an 1857 map that shows a suburb of Pekin named “Hong Kong,” another indication of the legend. Many original settlers of Pekin came from Ohio, where there was already a town named Pekin — probably not coincidentally, Pekin, Ohio, and Pekin, Illinois, are both at about the same latitude as Peking, China. Given what we know, there’s really no reason to doubt the early legend of the reason “Pekin” was chosen as the town’s name. There is also no other traditional story about the origin of the name. More recent speculations that it came from an Algonquin word or was a form of Perkin are just that — recent speculations, with no contemporary or near-contemporary primary sources to back them up.
Try this one, a fierce Wayne State University Tartar warrior, killed by some sissy students : https://reuther.wayne.edu/node/8601