June 20, 2005
Pathetic, Even For Berkeley
On June 22, the school board of the Berkeley Unified School District will vote on whether to change the name of Jefferson Elementary School to Sequoia Elementary. "Debate over the name of the school has continued for more than two years after several teachers, including an African American mother of three former Jefferson students, said Jefferson's name offended them," reported the San Francisco Chronicle. A group of teachers and parents had circulated a petition that read, in part, "A school name which fails to acknowledge or respect the depth and importance of their people's collective sorrow is personally offensive." The name change was ultimately supported by vote of staff, students and parents.
Mike points out a couple of crushing ironies about this ludicrous stunt: 1) The city of Berkeley was named after bishop George Berkeley, who purchased and worked slaves on his Rhode Island plantation; and 2) the most accepted history of the name sequoia as given to redwoods claims that the name derives from the revered Cherokee figure Sequoya, whose benefactor also owned hundreds of slaves.
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Jeff over at the Bernoulli Effect has this little tidbit: On June 22, the school board of the Berkeley Unified School District will vote on whether to change the name of Jefferson Elementary School to Sequoia Elementary. "Debate over the name of... [Read More]
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Posted by: Pam M. at June 20, 2005 12:06 PM
Items like this really show up the limitations of my reservoir of invective. ;-)
Posted by: Jeff at June 20, 2005 12:31 PM
Having lived in Berkeley and attended Berkeley High School there for a year, this comes as no surprise to me whatsoever. There was actually talk at the time about changing the mascot from a bee since bees sting people. Perhaps the mascot should have been a totally neutral, non-gendered, non-race-oriented blend of everything good about life. A snail appears to fit the bill, which was a more apt description of our track team anyway.
If there is any one thing that can be said about the average activist liberal is that the desire to think things through before jumping in front of a news camera is al