We’ve seen examples of racism in sports at the high school level before.
Two years ago we wrote about the issue of racism in high school sports, referencing incidents such as a Black wrestling dummy being hung and racist tweets being sent out after losing to an opponent. Well two years later, we now have a new incident to add to the list, only this time it’s a single name that’s being used and it doesn’t start with “N.”
Earlier this week on Monday in Des Moines, Iowa, fans from the largely white Dallas Center-Grimes High began to chant “Trump! Trump!” to the opposing team and fans from the more diverse school of Perry High School after losing to the latter. Trump, as we know, has spewed racist and ignorant statements centered around immigration and the Mexican-American border issue, and now his name is being used as a method of intimidation and degradation.
But, according to Perry High student Kevin Lopez, this is not the first time it’s happened. He wrote a letter to the to the Perry Chief newspaper about previous incidents and made it clear what this is all about.
It is a chant said to intimidate and discriminate our Latino/Hispanic students and it is a chant that is fueled by racism, Lopez wrote.
“Perry has been a racial target for many towns for a long time now, and now I am tackling this problem. I urge that you stay alert to chants like ‘Trump’ or ‘Mini-Mexico’ and that you please take action. We know racism is alive and well, but we refuse to undergo discrimination at Iowa high school athletic events.”
Steve Watson, the Dallas Center-Grimes athletic director, said roughly a dozen students chanted the billionaire’s name a few times, also stating that privacy policies don’t allow him to disclose whether those students were disciplined. But he definitely knew what was going on.
One of our administrators knew right away that it would be offensive because Perry has a high minority population, Watson said.
Ned Menke, the coach of Perry High, said many players on his team were offended by the chant.
When you find out about it, your initial reaction was kind of disbelief,” he said. “Like, ‘Really? That just happened?'”
But this story has a heart warming component as well.
Thursday night, students from DCG met with students from students from Perry to discuss the incident and then attended the Perry boy’s sub-state game to show their support of the team and fight against the few who took part in the racist chant.
We were definitely in the wrong, our student body,” said Austin Kloewer, a DCG student.
According to DCG students, the chants were made by a few kids during the game on Monday, but that those were in no way a reflection of the school. So this group of courageous, honorable and intelligent students from DCG decided to show up to erase the racist stigma which stained their school.
Im hoping that other schools can take from this and realize whatever they are saying can have an effect on players and on the community and such,” said DCG student Shelby Freestone.
The game, held at a neutral site, also saw students in attendance from other schools in Ankeny, Des Moines Lincoln, Johnston and Green County, students who wanted to show their support in the fight against racism and ignorance.
It shows how united we can be, not just with our own school, but with diversity,” said Perry student Alicia Calderon.