- Over 1,000 places in the US, like streams and mountain peaks, have been flagged for offensive names.
- Democrats in Congress introduced a bill aimed at reviewing and revising the offensive names.
- Places that have been flagged include slurs for Black people, Native Americans, and Mexicans living in the US.
Congressional Democrats introduced a bill Friday to rename more than 1,000 places in the US named with offensive language and racist slurs.
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Edward Markey, and Rep. Al Green introduced the bill along with 25 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, all Democrats.
Lawmakers first introduced the bill last year with Rep. Deb Haaland, who now serves as the secretary of the interior as the first Native American cabinet secretary in US history.
“We need to immediately stop honoring the ugly legacy of racism and bigotry, and that’s why I’m introducing the Reconciliation in Place Names Act with my colleagues,” Warren said in a statement.
The bill would take aim at land units and geographic features, like forests, streams, and wilderness areas, with racist or bigoted names. It would create a process to review and rename places with inoffensive names. According to the statement from the lawmakers, questionable names have been identified for 1,441 federally recognized places.
More than 600 places have the word “n—-,” a slur for Black people, in their name, according to a database from the US Geological Survey. In Oklahoma there is Dead N—- Spring, so-named because a deceased Black person was found there, according to the USGS.
In New Mexico, there is a reservoir called W—— Tank, named with a slur for Mexican people living in the US. Nearly 800 results are returned by the USGS database when searching for the term “s—-,” an offensive word for Native American women.
“These terms are harmful relics from the era of invidious yet lawful discrimination that must be removed from public property,” Congressman Green said. “Racism, even in geography, cannot be tolerated in a country that strives for liberty and justice for all.”
The bill would establish an advisory board of civil rights experts and tribal organizations and solicit comment from the public on name change proposals. The board would then make renaming recommendations to the proper government body, such as Congress in the case of federal land units.