Oh That Just Ain’t Right

Coming on the heels of our discussion yesterday about sports names, self-description, slurs and the rest comes this mix of amusing and bizarre arcana. Courtesy of TPM Reader RM we have this clipping 4 June 1908 edition of The Sharon [Pa] Telegraph reporting on a baseball game between the “Kikes” and the “Slyders”. And the Kikes won.

Go Kikes! (I can say that. I’m Jewish.)

Now to be clear, the Kikes weren’t a pro team. This is the from the paper’s sports page. (I’m looking at the whole thing and it has various pro and local minor league teams.) But as you can see in the imaged I’ve reproduced, this was a local team in some sort of amateur league. What is noteworthy is that it’s pretty clear this was a Jewish team – as you can see, the surnames of the core players were Goldberg, Goldstein and Murstein. Pretty clearly Jews.

So I guess this comes, at least a bit under our rubric of self-indentification (perhaps even re-appropriation?). Who knows? I’m not totally versed on the evolution of this terminology. But I’m pretty sure “Kike” has always been considered a slur and was never a cool way to refer to Jews – in the sense “colored” was once a self-identification of African-Americans.

But who knows.

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