Zipperhead is a derogatory term for people of Asian descent, coined by the soldiers of the United States, during the early Cold War era.
It is highly offensive, mostly because of its bloody origin.
Origin of the term
It is debated, whether it was donned to Asians during the Korean or the Vietnam wars, but it matters little.
One theory says, Asians were named zipperhead, because of how their heads “unzipped” when hit by a high caliber automatic weapon.
The other popular hypothesis states, that the expression comes from the patterns “drawn” upon the faces of the Korean and Viet Kong soldiers, by the tires of military jeeps.
Neither is comforting, especially for those whose family suffered the consequences of these actions.
Spread of the term
Its peak in popularity was during the wars fought against the communist regimes of Asia and following that, its use decreased gradually.
The term is often heard from the mouth of Clint Eastwood in his 2008 film, Gran Torino, where he plays a veteran, who has been through the hells of the Korean War.
Zipperhead was added to the definitions of Urban Dictionary in 2004 and several others have also been written since then.
- Urban Dictionary – Zipper Heads