Race and place names, in the news again
December 4, 2011 § 5 Comments
An article in today’s L.A. Times and a recent Daily Show episode, Amazing Racism, reminds us that we still have work to do as a nation in healing our history of racial discrimination, right down to what ends up on maps.
And lest we try to cloak ourselves in the notion that ugly place names pertain uniquely to the attitudes of far-away-others, we have our own local history of place name alienation attached to a street and a former LA-area waterbody. A link to my previous piece on the N-word Slough turned up in the comments to the LA Times piece, and Joe noted it here.
I’ll write a little more about the wetland itself another time. Today is for remembering the lives and courage of regular people, 19th Century African-Americans finding their way in the newly colonized, racially-charged Los Angeles. Is there a way to honor the perseverence, while also genuinely balming the pain?