Who's the racist?
Dec 06, 2012 | 690 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Some people want to change the name of “Negro Bill Canyon” to “William Grandstaff Canyon.” What effect would that have? “William Grandstaff” is just another name; many human names are used to name geographical sites – like the nearby “Scott Matheson Wetlands.”

But such names tell us little about the person. For all we know, each is “just another white guy” who lived or acted in the area some time ago. So what else is new? However, the name “Negro Bill” tells us that a black man had relevance in our area too! That is nice to know! It makes one stop and think about it. It is something that will be remembered. It might even stimulate some to look up the history of the man.

To be “offended” by that name, I say, is truly racist! What motive is there for wiping out reference to black people in our history? The man was visibly different from most in the area at the time and was readily distinguishable because his skin was darker than most. Is that something to be ashamed of? I think not.

People commonly use nicknames referencing personal characteristics for people – such as Billy the Kid, Big Ben, The Snake – all white people. So what is “offensive” about being “negro” (which just means dark-skinned)? That name was not offensive when given; why try to be offended by it now? Would offended people be satisfied with “Black Bill Canyon”?

I vote for letting the name stand. Making such a fuss about it now is simply unnecessary at best, and racist at worst!

—Carole Hahn

Moab

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.