You've probably never been to the small town of Pekin, Ill. You've probably never heard of the small town of Pekin, Ill.
But, if you have, it's probably due to the name of their high school sports teams: The Pekin Chinks. Pekin, you see, is a corruption of Peking. So, naturally, the town's young football and basketball players adopted a Chinese dragon motif and ran out onto the field of play as the Fightin' Chinks of Pekin High.
After years of complaints, the town elders acquiesced, changing the team nickname to "Dragons." This came in 1980, well after men had trodden on the moon, bar coding was in every store, and using terms like "chink" rendered one a gutter bigot.
Well, it's 2013, and the football team representing the nation's capital is still called the Redskins. Indians are displeased. So are a great deal of people.
During the radio broadcast of Sunday's Redskins-Raiders contest in Oakland, ads underwritten by the Oneida Indian Nation are scheduled to be heard on KGMZ.
For those unwilling to sit through another agonizing Oakland game, here's what you're missing:
What do the Washington City Council, some Members of Congress, The Washington Post and Native American groups have in common? All have asked to change the name of Washington's football team.
In response, the NFL Commissioner said the team should "listen" to people who are offended. While former Oakland Raiders president Amy Trask had this to say:
"It's wrong to use a disparaging slur when referencing any person or any group of people and the word 'redskins' has been widely used throughout our history as a derogatory, disparaging slur. Changing the team name and logo really can inspire people and encourage people to treat everyone respectfully."
I'm Ray Halbritter. Amy Trask is right--it is time for a change. Go to changethemascot.org to tell Washington's team that Native peoples should not be disparaged. We should be treated as what we are: Americans.