Let’s do a little test. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. It has a minority city manager, a minority vice-mayor, a minority fire chief, a minority chairman of the visitors’ bureau, a minority assistant city manager, a minority head of contract compliance,... Let’s do a little test. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. It has a minority city manager, a minority vice-mayor, a minority fire chief, a minority chairman of the visitors’ bureau, a minority assistant city manager, a minority head of contract compliance, a minority city solicitor, a minority clerk of council, a minority director of human relations, and a minority school superintendent. Can you tell me the ethnicity of each of these persons? C’mon now, surely you can do it. Are they Hispanic-American? Are they Asian-American? Are they African-American? Are they Native American? Are they Indian-American? Are they women? Are they White women?
I’ll give you some time to compile your answers while I answer the question: What’s in a name? First, a name is an identifier. It let’s you know when to turn around when you are called. A name can also be a disparaging term used to denigrate and demean. So, a name can be positive or it can be negative, depending on who is doing the naming and who is receiving the name. Names have connotations and denotations. In other words, names can conjure up stereotypical images, fearfulness, anxiety and other uncomfortable feelings despite their true meaning. Names can also lead us to believe we know something about a person simply because of the name they may carry, when, in fact, their denotation could be entirely different.
So, what’s in a name? How about pride? How about heritage? How about culture? How about history? How about cohesiveness? How about continuity? How about structure? What else is in a name? How about deficiency? How about subordination? How about inability? How about inconsistency? How about less than? How about inferiority? How about condescension? How about inequality?
What’s in a name? Let’s look further. Why was the term “Black codes” used? Could it be because the codes were meant for Black people? If not, why didn’t they name them “Minority codes?” And if civil rights were granted to Black people for the injustices perpetrated against us in the past, why aren’t those rights called Black rights? Could it be that those who wrote the laws had already figured out how they could be the primary beneficiaries of those laws, while simultaneously keeping Blacks “in our place?”
Finally, let’s look at this affirmative action thing, or “affirmative access,” or whatever you want to call it. Why and for whom were those laws written? Could it be for Black people? So why weren’t they called Black affirmative action laws? “There’s nothing in a name,” they said. “You know who we mean.” Thirty years later we find that White females benefited most from “Black affirmative action.”
Civil Rights, affirmative action, minority set-asides, minority- and female-owned business programs, small business programs, and all the other charades that are played today were brought about as a result of injustice against one group: Black people. Only now, Black people sit back and allow others not only to step right in front of us and go to head of the civil rights line, but we also allow others to literally and unapologetically call us out of our name. What’s in a name anyway, right?
A typical example of the shenanigans we see played on our people once again is taking place in Comedy Central U.S.A., Cincinnati, Ohio. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is being built here. The last time I checked my history, the characters that participated in the Underground Railroad were white folks and Black folks. Now that the center is being constructed, and economics comes into play, the theme is Minority Economic Inclusion. That’s right. A “goal” of 25 percent of the contracts, etc., has been established for “minorities.” Go figure.
Our Comedy Central City Council (some call it city clown-cil) just approved a “small business” program to address disparities they found in our brand new “Croson Stu