From the Frying Pan into the Fire?


So, the Henrico County School Board has done the politically correct thing and re-named Harry F. Byrd Middle School to Quioccasin Middle School. Quioccasin, a Native American word meaning “the gathering spot,” is a local place name used for the road on which the school is located.

I’m OK with re-naming the school, which is located in western Henrico County near where I live. Virginians should re-think they way they honor former segregationist governors (even one who enacted the first law in the United States banning lynching). But given the tenor of our times, I wonder how long the new name will remain politically correct. Can’t the use of Native American names be condemned as “cultural appropriation?”

If calling a football team “the Redskins” is outre, how long until people begin calling for re-naming of all the places names stolen from displaced and exterminated native peoples? Where is the logical point at which enough is enough?


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8 responses to “From the Frying Pan into the Fire?”

  1. Easy does it “honky”…

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’m “ok” with naming schools with native american names and phrases if Native Americans are okay with it – something that those who seem to “fret” about “political correctness” seem to be blind to.

    It’s “okay” if the folks who might be offended – are not … and actually approve

    got it? not a difficult concept for those who are willing to use a modicum of thought.

    1. Actually, if you give it a modicum of thought, it gets very difficult.

      Which Indians are we talking about? Descendants of the original Algonquin tribes? Or do we consider the views of Navajo and Sioux? And what if the Indians disagree amongst themselves? What’s the cut-off? If a 51% majority disapprove, do we deep-six the name? And how do we determine the Indians’ views? With a poll? A vote? Or do we take the word of activists?

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Excellent point Jim. In 1993 and 1994, I spent a good deal of time on the Indian reservations of the Southwest, among the Navajo for example, where the high schools had signs visible from the road, cheering on their resident football teams. Roughly half the teams called themselves THE REDSKINS.

        What happens to the cheers when they play against one another, I wondered.

    2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      What if one of the Native American nations affected wiped out another Native American nation in the past? Or enslaved them?

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Save for a few isolated tribes, war and pillage, slavery and torture, was ongoing most all the time, the natural state of being, despite Rousseau. Indeed, Robespierre’s Reign of Terror, was the norm among the American Indians, the Noble Savage a construct of Western wishful thinking, a companion fraud to their own visions of Utopia, for themselves.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I don’t think it’s difficult at all – if you really care about how others feel – though I realize one can play stupid games about it … if they want to

    I don’t hear Native Americans complaining about the use of words and phrases THEY have used to describe things in THEIR culture but if there were complaints from them – then don’t do it and don’t worry about taking a poll – just move on.

    It’s not a tough standard. Does anyone seriously think Native Americans are going to complain about using their cultures description of a “meeting place” as a derogatory insult?

    Maybe we cross that bridge when we come to it… but in the meantime steer away from the obvious racist hate words.

    I think this sounds like sour grapes to those white guys used to having their own little favorite racist slang terms and then having them called out … by the politically correct police, eh?

  4. jalbertbowden Avatar

    This reminds me of pocosin, which I think means swamp and is also where Poquoson comes from.

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