Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Renaming Coon Lake Howard
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mike
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Jake Neiffer wrote:
Coonhound

If it was named Coonhound Creek we wouldn't be having this conversation.
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Jake Neiffer
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 2:48 pm 
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embarassedlaugh.gif Fair enough!
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NacMacFeegle
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 2:55 pm 
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FYI I have never used curse words stronger than "dang".

In my previous post I was obviously not referring to actual curse words, but to words with originally innocuous meanings that have been turned into curse words.

I never said anything about about finding it to be a "burden" to refrain from using words that some might find offensive (though it is annoying to find that a word you've considered perfectly harmless for years is actually a hideous slur). I just don't think renaming things decades or even centuries after they've been named is necessarily a good idea even if it is done out of good intentions.

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Quark
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 3:02 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
Is it a really sure thing that it was actually intended as a racial slur and not as an abbreviation of racoon?

Yes, yes, yes. The myriad articles that have been circulated on the subject prove that yes, it was intended as a slur and was proved to be after the National Parks investigated, just to be sure it wasn't named after a racoon. It is beyond the shadow of a doubt. The lake has been re-named Howard no matter how many more questions people have about it.

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NacMacFeegle
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 3:11 pm 
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Oh all right, I guess it really isn't that big of a deal anyway, certainly not worth a big argument lol.

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RandyHiker
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 3:24 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
but to words with originally innocuous meanings that have been turned into curse words.

Words like "coon",  "n$%$%" , "savage", etc NEVER had innocuous meanings -- from their origin the intent of such words was denigrate the people that they was applied to to sub-human status and enable exploitation.
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cefire
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PostThu Nov 19, 2015 3:28 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
Oh all right, I guess it really isn't that big of a deal anyway, certainly not worth a big argument lol.

To you it isn't.  If you temporarily adopted the perspective of others, you might find that to some, this might be a big deal.

This is the challenge of using one's own feelings as the exclusive determination of whether something is (right/wrong/important/trivial, etc.)
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NacMacFeegle
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PostThu Nov 19, 2015 6:18 pm 
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cefire wrote:
To you it isn't.  If you temporarily adopted the perspective of others, you might find that to some, this might be a big deal.

Why is it such a big deal to others though? If the word was one that could only be meant as a racist slur or curse word that could only be interpreted one way, then I could understand. However, in the case of Coon Lake one must know the following to consider the name racist:

a. The fact that the word has a racist slang meaning in addition to being an abbreviation of Raccoon (its original meaning).

b. The historical context that suggests that the slang meaning was what was intended.

c. The fact that Raccoon don't live in the area.

Without all three of these factors being known it cannot be assumed that the name is racist, and thus it stands a small chance of offending anyone who visits it.

I did a little research on the history of the word and it appears that it did indeed start out as an abbreviation of Raccoon (and is still widely used as such), and during the mid 19th century began to be used as a jovial slang term for African Americans (who used it themselves). It was only later that evolved into a purely negative insult, and judging by the age of the name (135 years? correct me if I'm wrong), the name was possibly applied to the lake during the period when it was not considered a slur.

Quote:
Words like "coon",  "n$%$%" , "savage", etc NEVER had innocuous meanings

That's simply not true. Coon was originally (and is still used as) a shortening of Raccoon. The second one in Spanish simply means the color black. Savage has many meanings, and to my knowledge was only used in a racist way by 16th century explorers.

From the Merriam Webster dictionary:

Quote:
SAVAGE

1
a :  not domesticated or under human control :  untamed <savage beasts>
b :  lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings :  fierce, ferocious <a savage criminal>
2
:  wild, uncultivated <seldom have I seen such savage scenery — Douglas Carruthers>
3
a :  boorish, rude <the savage bad manners of most motorists — M. P. O'Connor>
b :  malicious
4
:  lacking complex or advanced culture :  uncivilized <a savage country>
— sav·age·ly adverb
— sav·age·ness noun

Examples of SAVAGE

He was the victim of a savage attack.
The coast was lashed by savage storms.
He wrote savage satires about people he didn't like.


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RandyHiker
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PostThu Nov 19, 2015 6:41 pm 
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Quote:
when a slave ran away some men would bring their dogs to track them. as the dogs were originally for hunting racoons they were called " coon dogs" After awhile "coon hunting" became a term for hunting runaway slaves, and slaves became " coons"

So when terms like "coon" , "savage", etc are applied to people the meaning and intent has always been oppression.
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Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Renaming Coon Lake Howard
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