OUR VIEW: Efforts to remove offensive names a positive for stateCasual use of words like “negro” and “squaw” just isn’t right.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Things are different today. Casual use of words like “negro” and “squaw” just isn’t right. Our forefathers weren’t nearly as tolerant as we are — or at least as we should be.
It even bothers us to write such words on this page. Many call it politically correct to avoid such terms, but we just figure it’s common sense. Those words — and others like them — are offensive. That’s why we are glad to see that a South Dakota panel is working to erase these names from state maps.
The state Board on Geographic Names last week recommended to change the name of Negro Creek to Howes Creek. Instead of the disturbing traditional name, the small waterway will be named in honor of a nearby post office and store.
The board is using this case as a test for a new process aimed at increasing the public’s involvement in changing offensive place names. In this case, the panel received dozens of suggestions for new names and narrowed the list to three finalists before deciding on Howes Creek.
If anyone objects to the new name, they have 45 days to voice their concerns, and a public hearing will be held.
If no objections arise, the name will be submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which has final say on such matters.
This is a good process, and it’s one that is long overdue. Even one single creek that goes by the name “Negro” is too many.
There is no reason whatsoever that such a name should exist on today’s South Dakota maps.