The world is actively trying to purge systemic racism from every nook and cranny of our lives and institutions. Statues of racists are tumbling down across the world, and now, even racist town names are being changed in a move towards dismantling racism. As you can imagine, this has caused some division between town racists and town whippersnappers.
One such small town is Russell, Ontario, where residents recently held a town hall meeting about changing their name. It was impossible to determine which side was more snowflake than the other side. Anti-name-changers called the pro-name-changers ‘triggered PC snowflakes’ for wanting to change the name to something more representative of today’s values. The pro-name-changers called the anti-name-changers ‘triggered-at-triggered-snowflakes’ for being offended by people who are offended by slave-owner names.
We spoke to a number of the residents to get their opinions:
“If we can no longer keep our statues and our heritage alive, we are slaves ourselves! Slaves in a PC prison! This entire PC thing is worse than slavery.” — Karen J.
“I was so upset that the town name was being changed, I called the police. They showed up, but they didn’t actually do anything because the police are part of the municipality, so they’re part of the problem. But they at least took a knee with me on my lawn, and we raised our fists in the air, chanting “Slave-owner town names matter!” and it made me feel good. At least on an individual level, the police officers showed solidarity with me… just not on a systematic level, sadly.” — Rodger B.
“It’s time for people to get back to work and stop thinking critically!” — Roger T.
Carin G., a notable community leader and white woman who is married to a black guy, has stated that she always fights for social justice, except in this case, because it has gone too far. Her social media accounts show one single post about Black Lives Matter (the Black Out Tuesday Square) with approximately 16 posts about the ridiculousness of her town name being changed. She went on to say: “I’m married to a black person and I don’t think the name should be changed! Well, at first, my spouse said it could be a small investment towards progress, but I convinced him that there’s no need and we should fight to keep it un-changed. I eventually convinced him with the help of our other neighbour friends in town. They all said, ‘Listen here buddy, we all know a black guy, which is you, and we all think we should just keep the name, so stop being a snowy snowflake and let’s focus on more positive things, because after all, we are one race.’ So even my black spouse supports the idea of keeping the name the same. And he’s a black guy! In fact, he’s quite dark. He is originally from Chad.” — Carin G.
“Russell as a town does not reflect who it was named after! We as a town have our own unique identity as a racist community in its own separate right!” — Rod F.
“Think of the children! They’ll grow up in a town that isn’t named after a slave-owner! I grew up here and we climbed on trees, ate grass, but kids nowadays are so sheltered.” — Karine W.
Based on public opinion, costs for the name change of the town of 3,000 residents are estimated to be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to trillions of dollars. There’s no exact guess, but it will cost taxpayers to re-do the Welcome to Russell sign, to update a small handful of business names, and to rename a school. Some residents claim that by changing the town name, people will forget about history, that they should keep slave-owner names in order to remember history. They refer back to the time when Berlin, Ontario changed its name to Kitchener, Ontario in 1916 and it caused the entire world to forget about the atrocities of World War I.
Some residents are calling for the town council to take the budget intended to change the name and put it towards more important initiatives, such as anti-racism training and mental health centres. Or at least put it towards kind of trying to do them by thinking and talking about the possibility. “We can feel good about thinking that we will do these initiatives, and when we don’t actually do them because we never intended on doing them before all this PC crap started happening, we can finally go back to life as usual living in our slave-owner-named town,” says community leader Richard F.
Update: The town council compromised and decided to re-dedicate the town name to another person named Russell: John Russell, the great-great-great-great-grandson of the slave-owner, Peter Russell. John Russell is a self-declared woke dude because he has a black friend, fellow town resident: Carin G’s husband.