Race to be politically correct has gone mad
THE Office of Geographic Names has decided a nondescript scrubby mound called Jim Crow Hill in country Victoria has a racist name that needs to be changed.
It makes me wonder whether South Australian place names such as Blackfellow Cave, Black Hill, Brownlow or Chinaman Wells might be next — not to mention Whites River.
Apparently, Jim Crow is a name that is used to refer to the racial caste system that segregated black and white people in the southern states of the US. Jim Crow comes from an 1828 minstrel show song Jump Jim Crow.
Clearly, it is a name of some significance in the US. But the problem is that the Office of Geographic Names claims the name Jim Crow has also been widely used to denigrate black people in this country. Therefore, a change of name is justified. What rot.
Political correctness is overtaking commonsense, it seems. I’ll bet most people in this country would have never have even heard of the term, let alone know it is a racial slur.
Even the Office of Geographic Names’ own records show that Jim Crow was an early stockman who worked for the Watson and Hunter Pastoral Company, which was named after original squatters in the Victorian high country. Jim Crow is said to have looked after stock near the hill.
This information was supplied by a local resident and is part of the office’s historical data that is readily available to anyone with an internet connection.
Nowhere in the records is there any suggestion the term is offensive or has links to the US usage of the name. Descendants of the Crow family from the area have even spoken up, vouching for the existence of Jim Crow.
But none of this made a difference once a member of the public complained the name was racist. The local Aboriginal clans corporation confirmed the name was offensive, and so it was changed. That’s all it took to erase years of one family’s connection to the area.
Perhaps the Aboriginal clans corporation wasn’t aware of the existence of an actual man called Jim Crow, and misunderstood the issue. Thankfully, the owner of the land containing Jim Crow Hill has told the council he’s not going to change the name.
However, there’s a more serious issue at stake. Why are we erasing white history in this way? Why should names be changed on the off-chance someone who’s spent time in the southern states of America may be offended?
This manufactured outrage should not take precedence over our own established and recorded history.
In some cases there are well-established reasons to remove European place names and revert to traditional indigenous names. This is justified for areas of major cultural significance, such as Uluru, which used to be known by an Anglo name, Ayers Rock.
At other times European place names are changed because they are clearly racist. For instance, many place names around the country with the word “nigger” in them have been changed.
I think it’s pretty obvious that a word like “nigger” — which is a widely-used derogatory term for black people — should be removed from place names.
This is justified even when it’s an affectionate nickname, such as on the E.S. “Nigger” Brown sports stand in Toowoomba. We don’t want young people growing up thinking these are appropriate terms in our world.
There are still many place names that are yet to be modified. There’s a Gin’s Leap near Narrabri in NSW, named after a young Aboriginal couple who lost their lives there. There’s also a Coon Island in Lake Macquarie. Both gin and coon are well-known derogatory terms for Aboriginal people and any name changes would be justified.
Other places like SA’s Blackfellow Cave, or Chinaman Wells, are less of a problem because they are not explicitly racist. However, changing Jim Crow Hill is different because there is absolutely no reason for it.
You do have to wonder where it will all end. We live in a world where nursery rhymes and childhood stories by writers such as Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl are now getting rewritten in the name of political correctness. And yes, this includes Baa Baa Black Sheep.
Clearly, the world has gone absolutely bonkers.
So what’s next? Is it just a matter of time before much-loved curiosities such as Curly Dick Road and Titswobble Drive — both in NSW — get the chop, too? Facebook.com/newswithsuse and blog susieobrien.com.au
You do have to wonder where it will all end