Trying to Get the Hang of Political Correctness
by Tom Morgan
Let this serve as a warning to many people in many towns and cities: You may be next!
This week a school board in Portland, Oregon dropped “Lynch” from the names of some of its schools. Because the word would make some people of color uncomfortable. It would make them think of lynch mobs and lynchings.
It did not matter that the schools were named for members of the Lynch family. The family had donated the land for the schools many years ago.
I can understand how some people would be offended by any name that included “lynch”. After all, African Americans suffered horrific acts against them. Lynchings were prominent, and atrocious. However, such political correctness opens a can of worms.
Warning to folks in Lynchburg, Virginia. And Lynchburg, Tennessee. And at Lynchburg College. You may find yourselves in the crosshairs of word abolitionists.
We have some towns that have “slaughter” in their names. In fact, there is a Slaughter School in Louisiana. That word gives some people the willies.
Pittsburgh Steeler fans call their team’s stadium “Blitzburgh”. I imagine some people would be offended by that. People who lost relatives in the blitz of WWII, for instance.
There are a number of Hanger Clinics around the country. White “hangers” and hangmen did the dirty work on many a black. Those who said the wrong thing to the wrong white person in the deep South.
What should be the fate of Hanging Garden? And Hanging Lake, Colorado?
Blacks were whipped, branded and shackled. In fact whipping was the most common punishment for slaves.
So should we do away with Whiptown, Ohio? And abolish all the towns and schools that have “brand” or “shackle” in their names? There are many. Should we banish the herb Devil’s Horsewhip?
I am not making light of anybody’s sensitivities here. But I do wonder when political correctness should end and common sense begin.
Victims of sexual crimes can be pretty sensitive to words that remind them of their suffering. So should we do away with names like Molest(on), NY? Should we change the name of one of the world’s biggest crops – Rapeseed? Should we force the Glasgow band “Gropetown” to change its name?
There are rabid environmentalists among us. For the sake of their sensitivities must we abolish “coal” “oil” and “carbon” in our place names? Folks in Carbondale, Pennsylvania will be upset. Or maybe they won’t. I can’t imagine too many people are in love with that name.
Meanwhile, extremists among animal rights folks blow up things that offend them. We have named so many towns and teams after animals, I imagine their list of offensive words could stretch from Chicken, Alaska to Dog Town, California. And don’t forget Monkeys Eyebrow, Kentucky. Many have.
We have already seen the wrath of people sensitive to how Native American terms are tossed about. A lot of them still boycott the holdout Washington Redskins. Will they come after Indiana next? Will they change Indianapolis to Native Americanopolis?
I can understand why many feminists resent the many words that contain “man”. Will they soon mount attacks on Manly, Australia. And Manly Paradise Beachfront Motel? And Manlyville, Tennessee?
Imagine this: There was a Manlyville Male and Female Academy. Located in the “hamlet” of Manlyville. Talk about offensive. It must have ticked off the feminists, Jews, Muslims and Shakespeare lovers.
Well, I am just doing my best to keep up with all this.
From Tom…as in Morgan
You can write to Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more of his writing at tomasinmorgan.com.