The presidential candidates I would like to hear from are the ones climbing toward the summit through honest dialogue, not the ones dancing among the foothills with talking points. The summit is serving the people of the nation according to our real needs, and the superior candidate is the one who continually directs our eyes toward the summit.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I fished below the surface for a worthy motive in the current flap about a former pejorative name of the Texas hunting lease of Governor Rick Perry. I didn't discover a worthy motive, but I discovered that the flap is eclipsing a deeper, broader issue about the use of the "n-word".
The disfavored word "Negro" and often its hated n-word variant, are part of place names across the United States - not only in Texas.
A few searches of the U.S. Geological Survey database brought me this sample of states with place names that include the word Negro and/or the n-word":
California, 61 places
Texas, 42 places
New York, 25 places
Illinois, 15 places
Georgia, 11 places
Maryland, 8 places
Massachusetts, 2 places
It seems possible, therefore, that the owners of the land which Governor Perry leased for hunting, may have been calling the place by its traditional name, and not coining a racial epithet. After all, nearby in Shackleford County is a place called "Negro Creek."
All Americans - not only Governor Perry and other political leaders - need to insist on changing pejorative place names, to names that add something good to our land. Many people - black, white, Hispanic, and others - have given their lives for this land, and there is no shortage of good names to display on our maps.
P.S.: When I submitted the above as a comment to an article on the Dallas Morning News website, I got an error message that read: "We will not add your comment until you remove the following words: negro."