UPDATE #1, JAN. 9, 12:31 P.M. Foothill High principal Nick Stephany just issued an apology for a student holding up a sign that said #CHUNTI during last Wednesday's home game against bitter rival Tustin High, in a story that's already getting Foothill kids hella pissed.
Dear Tustin High School Community,
This morning, I became aware of a sign that was held up at the Tustin vs. Foothill basketball game Wednesday night that was offensive and not appropriate. I am truly embarrassed and sorry that this happened at an otherwise positive event for the community.
The actions by this student do not reflect the values or standards of Foothill High School.
The Foothill High School administration will take appropriate steps to ensure that events of this nature do not occur again. The student involved will be held responsible and future games will have practices in place that prevent such events.
On behalf of Foothill High School's administration, staff, student body and community, I extend my deepest apologies to the Tustin High School community and pledge that this will never be tolerated.
Nick Stephany, Ed.D.
Principal, Foothill High School
Kudos to Stephany for stepping up to the plate–but you should've done it during the game, not after this infernal rag did this story, you know?
But it must be Ditch Day at Foothill High, because a bunch of Knights have spent the school day angrily tweeting at me that there's nothing wrong with one of their own holding up a #chunti sign to mock Tustin High during a game, that it's not fair to paint Foothill as a cesspool of racism, and that we're the racists for reporting the story. They're also upset that we didn't report on how Tustin High students stereotyped them as rich, spoiled and white in their own tweets–even though that was mentioned in the opening graphs in explaining Tustin and Foothill in the city's cosmology. Some Latino students at Foothill have also told me they're not offended by the #chunti sign their classmate held up–good for ustedes!
Sorry, kids: but your school had a reputation for racist tomfoolery long before you were born. Did you know that infamous Holocaust denier Steven Frogue was a teacher at your school? And take the tale of this El Modena High School graduate from the 1980s:
— Bespoke Tacos (@ElPocho) January 9, 2015
— Bespoke Tacos (@ElPocho) January 9, 2015
HA! At least that racism was inventive, you know?
Finally, Tustin High student Alexis Diaz wrote a piece on the game for The Pitchfork, the school's new online magazine. Although the cub reporter didn't mention the #chunti sign, she did report that Foothill kids screamed "Tustin's rachet!"–"rachet" being the word kids use nowadays for saying someone or something is a degenerate. But the best part was the Tustin chant: "HOLA! QUE PASA? TUSTIN'S EN LA CASA!"
HA! Read Diaz's story here–there just might be hope for journalism yet…
And in a nod to those Foothill students who AREN'T racist, let's give one of them the final word:
— Vanessa Ruiz (@vanessaruizz) January 9, 2015
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 9, 8:03 A.M. On Wednesday, the visiting eighth-ranked Tustin High Tillers beat their longtime rivals, third-ranked Foothill High Knights, in a boy's basketball game that the Orange County Register described as an "emotion-filled night."
That's putting it lightly.
Before and during the game, Foothill High students subjected their crosstown peers to a barrage of racist and classist trash-talk, from taunting a player on the Tustin squad who had once played for Foothill to sending tweets mocking the working-class background of the Tustin High student body by saying they'd never go to college and that they wanted onions on their McDonald's order. That's really not news: the two schools have a bitter crosstown rivalry exacerbated by their respective position in city society–Tustin High is the working-class, older school, while Foothill High is the fancy one in the imaginary city of North Tustin (the school is technically in SanTana, but don't dare tell that to alumni unless you want to hear an earful of gibberish).
But the kicker on Wednesday was the Foothill High student shown above (and others) who held up a sign with a word that will no doubt enter the annals of OC prep-sports trash-talk from now until eternity: chunti.
A quick primer: chunti is short for chúntaro, a Mexican Spanish term used to describe poor rural folks–a bit like "hillbilly" and close to "white trash" but definitely not "redneck." It's almost always used derisively, although the younger generation has largely appropriated chunti as a term of self-mocking, as legendary rock en español group El Gran Silencio did with their awsome song, "Chúntaro Style."
Hey, maybe that kid is a fan of El Gran Silencio. Maybe #chunti is the nickname of one of the Foothill High players. And I guess it's cool that gabachos high schoolers now at least use Spanish to insult Mexicans; it's a better situation than during the 1980s and 1990s, when away games for Anaheim High at Brea Olinda High meant we'd have to weather crowds calling us beaners or wetbacks. Or when virtually any Mexican-majority school had tortillas thrown at them during games by the opposing crowd. And both of those situations were better than what my pals at Valley High in SanTana had to endure whenever they'd play an Irvine school; they got cops pulling them over and telling them to get the hell out of Bren Town.
But I digress. Let's not give the benefit of the doubt to Foothill, a school with a reputation of elitism and racism that goes back to at least the 1990s, when parents didn't want poor brown and black kids to go to their school and depress their property values and continues to today, where black parents complain about their kids suffering intolerance.
having a sign that says "chunti" at a tustin game is like having a sign that says "chink" at a beckman game and that's not okay
— ygtr (@yadiiiiira) January 8, 2015
The Tustin kids at the game and following at home didn't take kindly to the chunti slight. Above is just one of many tweets left by
Tustin students (the Foothill ones are a barrage of mommy's-little-monster fun you can look up on your own)
Tustin High parents at the game told the Weeklythat Foothill administrators let students flash the #chunti sign throughout the whole game. And while the epithet surely stung, the Tiller kids definitely had the last laugh, as evidenced by the following tweet:
Cheap shots at the fact that some of us come from low-income families.
That doesn't stop us from going to college OR beating you.
— manda (@Amanda_Nguyen96) January 8, 2015