Junkyard Turkeys issues anti-racist statement – the Dickinsonian
The Junkyard Turkeys have been active on the Dickinson campus for decades, but the Ultimate Frisbee has been around since 1968. The sport has a history of exclusivity based on race and socioeconomic status, and the Dickinson team has had no no doubt contributed to this story. Dickinson’s Ultimate Frisbee team was called the “Jive Turkeys” until 2018. The term “Jive Turkeys” comes from the African-American vernacular, and our appropriation of the phrase was racist.
According to former student Shannon Nolan, one of the renaming leaders, “we wanted to make sure everyone felt welcome and included in practices and other events.” Now the team is called the Junkyard Turkeys. This new name is a reference to the “junk” strategy in the game of Frisbee, and still honors the alumni team named “The Godfeathers”. While this change was implemented in 2018, we recognize that this change has not been fully incorporated into the team. The following statement was created by the Anti-Racism Subcommittee of the current Junkyard Turkeys and delves deeper into the story of the phrase, the story of our team, and our commitment to our name change. This declaration marks the beginning of our commitment against racism.
Fall 2021 public statement
On behalf of the 2021-22 Junkyard Turkey Ultimate Frisbee team at Dickinson College, we wish to make a public statement acknowledging and regarding the racism that has existed both in our team, as well as in our sport. Previously known as “The Jive Turkeys”, we silently changed our name to The Junkyard Turkeys in the fall of 2018. We recognize the racial connotation of “Jive Turkeys” and are not here to ignore our history, but rather to recognize it.
The word “Jive” itself is of African American origin and of African descent. The word is used not only to describe a fast and lively jazz dance style, but also to mean “empty and deceptive conversation” (Harper). In its colloquial use, the word “jive” is generally used to indicate “not to act correctly” and there is also “a fluid meaning and application. [of this word] but it’s generally disparaging ”(Harper). The phrase “Jive Turkey” is also in the African American vernacular and is a derogatory slogan that describes someone who “is unreliable, makes exaggerations or empty promises, or is otherwise dishonest” (Dictionary.com ). Additionally, the term “shuck and jive,” which means “conversation or behavior that is deceptive or deceptive, so as to convey a false impression” is an African-American vernacular expression that generally means to perform performative behavior in a manner. which highlights the difference in power. between whites and African Americans that was created by institutionalized racism. The act of “shucking and jiving” is generally seen as a betrayal of yourself, your culture and your people for the benefit of the system that oppresses you. As we strive to be actively anti-racist, we felt this statement was necessary to recognize our past name and its connotation.
As a predominantly white team, we recognize that the use of “Jive Turkey” for our team was racist. We further recognize that although we changed our name in 2018, there have still been instances where we and our alumni have continued to use “Jive Turkey” or a reference to it. Older members of our team have jerseys that say “Jive Turkey” with the old logo,
there were discs and replacement jerseys in practice that still had the old logo on it, current and former members sometimes refer to our home tournament as “Jive Fest”, and our email still has it. ‘old name (although we are working on getting a new email). For lack of consistency and reinforcement, our team continued to do harm by using or referring to “Jive Turkey”.
In the past, team members have attempted to alleviate this prejudice by simply referring to the team as “Jive”. This effort did not change anything, however, as the word “jive” still comes from African American vernacular English (thefreedictionary.com). The word “jive” without “turkey” that follows it also links to the phrase “shucking and jiving”, which is used to describe black people who are dishonest or who put on a show for their superiors (Urban Dictionary). Therefore, the full name change from “Jive Turkeys” to “Junkyard Turkeys” was necessary. Our old name does not represent who we are as a team, nor who we want to be and therefore we are committed to changing our name.
The environment of the Ultimate Frisbee has a history of being predominantly white and non-inclusive. This is why it is essential to recognize our past misdeeds and to create a symbolic and authentic inclusive space. and other marginalized groups.
We do not seek to erase our history but rather to recognize it, to advance it and to make it public. We sit down with our own unease and will continue to be actively anti-racist as a team. We understand that there may have been more harm than in the cases mentioned above and we seek to rectify the harm done and prevent further harm.
The Junkyard Turkeys are committed to being actively anti-racist beyond discussion for this statement. As we strive to embody and claim this progressive identity, we also know that there is still work to be done and we promise to keep learning and listening.
Learn more about the diversity in the Ultimate Frisbee
Chang, C. (2017, April 2). On Ultimate and “Equity and Diversity”. medium.com. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
Eisner, L. (2019, February 21). The potential of the Ultimate Frisbee for transformative justice. YWCA.org. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.ywca.org/blog/2019/02/21/the-potential-of-ultimate-frisbee-for-transformati ve-justice /
Rath, ZC (2021, January 6). Con10enT: Disc Diversity announces the first all-black ultimate tour. ultiworld.com. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://ultiworld.com/2021/01/06/con10ent-disc-diversity-announces-the-first-all-black-ultimate-tour/
Rodrigues, S. (nd). People of color in the sport of ultimate. allgirleverything.org. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
2021 Ultiworld. (January 12, 2018,). On Ultimate and Race. ultiworld.com. Retrieved October 17, 2021. https://ultiworld.com/2018/01/12/on-ultimate-and-race/
2021 United States Ultimate. (nd). Equity, diversity and inclusion. usaultimate.org. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://usaultimate.org/equity-diversity-inclusion/