‘Death to Jews’ hamlet row in France

‘Death to Jews’ hamlet row in France http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28764207

Z is trying something new today. Today’s post, geographic naming.

A hamlet in France is known in French as “Death to Jews” or Mort aux Juifs. The name has, again, attracted attention with calls from various organizations to rename the place.

Oddly named places stirring up controversy aren’t new. U.S. states Alaska and Ohio are in a tussle over the name of Mt. McKinley named for an Ohio-born president. Alaska is pressing for the name Denali, from a deity among Alaskan tribes.

And there are other less savory names that have been the subject of controversy. Canada, in 1961, renamed Nigger Creek in British Columbia to Negro Creek.

To Z Geography more effort should be expended in community outreach and development not in, potentially,  bringing litigation against communities. Changing the name of a place doesn’t address prejudice.

What it does do is erase human history. That’s the other lesson, these place names are an important record of things that we should never forget, lest we return to the bad old days of Crusades and purges.

2 thoughts on “‘Death to Jews’ hamlet row in France

  1. Hello! Long time lurker, first time commenter – I’m interested in place names / critical toponym studies, too.

    Thought you might appreciate Rinaldo Walcott’s discussion of Negro Creek Road in “‘A Tough Geography’: Towards a Poetics of Black Space(s) in Canada” in the book “Unhomely States: Theorizing English-Canadian Postcolonialism” edited by Cynthia Sugars (2004, pages 277-288).

    Thanks for posting! :-)

    • One more thing I just found while Googling Walcott’s piece: Katherine McKittrick’s “Their Blood Is There, and They Can’t Throw It Out”: Honouring Black Canadian Geographies looks like a good read, as well! (Sorry for spamming you with reading suggestions.)

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