Here’s what R.L. Crabb, The Union cartoonist, wrote about the county supervisors unanimous decision on Tuesday to reject a resident’s request to rename “Negro Creek” to “Black Miners’ Creek”:
“Poor Jeff,” he wrote in an out-of-the-blue reference on Russ Steele’s blog. “The Board of Supes just rejected his favorite bugaboo, phony racism, by a unanimous vote. Once again, the hick residents of Nevada County have embarrassed him and his ongoing efforts to remake the county in his image.”
It’s a cheap shot, since all I did was report the debate about “Negro Creek”; there was no editorial about it. And we’re a “purple” county politically, no longer just a red one, so it’s not about “me.” But that’s nothing new.
I was interested, however, to read the report in The Union by Matthew Renda, who is the “young whippersnapper” reporter at The Union.
Matthew went to the effort of inserting this information into his article — from an AP report. (This issue attracted significant out-of-town press; the L.A. Times also wrote it).
The insert read: “Leon Jenkins, president of the state’s most active branch of the NAACP, told the Associated Press the county should have changed the name to ‘black’ when it removed the N-word last summer.
“’I don’t know anybody who calls themselves a negro,’ said Jenkins, of the Los Angeles NAACP. ‘If you are willing to change it to negro, how much of a push would it take to change it to black? How much harder would that have been?’
“Jenkins told the AP that the board, which is made up of only white members, might be lacking the cultural sensitivity necessary to make a good decision.”
That doesn’t sound like “phony racism” to me. It’s a practical perspective, because you already decided to change the name from “Nigger.”
It was a good perspective to include in the report — one that I missed in Tuesday’s proceedings.
We’re a conservative family, but raising a child has made us more aware of the generation(s) gap in our largely retirement community. It’s sometimes overbearing.
Whatever your perspective, thanks to Zeke and Gail Smith for being the “rainmaker” when it came to changing “Nigger Creek” to “Negro Creek.” Otherwise who know how long it would have stayed on county assessor documents.
“On behalf of the county I have to apologize,” Supervisor Hank Weston said. “How it got there I have no idea. It appeared around the ’60s.”
In the end, the Smiths saved the county and its residents from real embarrassment.