Antarctica is getting 28 new place names to recognise British individuals who’ve made a major contribution to advancing science in the polar regions. The list includes Jonathan Shanklin, co-discoverer of the ozone hole, and Alastair Fothergill, whose BBC films such as Frozen Planet have widened understanding of the White Continent.
The honourees will be associated with various mountains, glaciers and bays. These are features known previously only by their anonymous coordinates. It’s highly unusual for so large a group of people to be recognised in this way all at once. But the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee felt something special was required to mark the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the continent.
Last week, it was announced two types of Allen’s lollies, Red Skins and Chicos, will be known from January 2021 as Red Ripper and Cheekies.
The Swiss-headquartered Nestle Corporation decided the original names did not express their brand values, presumably because of the racist connotations of redskins (Native Americans) and chicos (Latin Americans).
But don’t be surprised if the Nestle marketing department requests a further name change. As the Daily Mail reported, “Red Ripper” was the moniker of a notorious Soviet criminal, Andrei Chicatilo, responsible between 1978 and 1990 for the violent deaths of 52 women, some of whom he ripped apart.
Australia Post says it will support the optional use of Aboriginal place names on mail addresses, following a large grassroots campaign.
The national mail service changed its guidelines this week to include advice on how to include traditional names. While some areas are known by their original names, many Australians often have little knowledge of place names that pre-date European settlement. Activists welcomed the endorsement of their push for greater awareness.
Aboriginal woman Rachael McPhail started the campaign on social media in August, noting Aboriginal people had lived in Australia for at least 60,000 years.
A couple of weeks ago, University President Lawrence S. Bacow convened a committee to articulate “general principles” for renaming spaces, programs, and professorships that are connected to “abhorrent” activities at Harvard. At a base level, everyone is pleased that President Bacow has taken this necessary and overdue step. Yet, for now, it raises a set of compelling philosophical and procedural questions: What should they rename? And how will they know?
The starting point should be obvious. While the University has numerous stains on its long history, slavery and scientific racism remain the tip of the abhorrence iceberg — from the slave trader who helped found their law school, to Harvard’s ownership of daguerreotypes portraying enslaved individuals. Names affiliated with white supremacy and its atrocities should be the first to go. Then…
Residents had until Sunday night to vote in a ranked-choice referendum among six options: L’Azur-des-Cantons, Jeffrey-sur-le-Lac, Larochelle, Phénix, Trois-Lacs and Val-des-Sources. Val-des-Sources won 51.5 per cent on the third ballot.
Asbestos, a town of over 7,000 in the Eastern Townships, was once known mainly for the large Jeffrey mine that extracted the toxic mineral, but it chose to rebrand as the name was seen as an impediment to foreign investment.
The town had proposed a list of four new names in September, but criticism of that list led to a new one with six names announced earlier this month.
One of the country’s most famous landmarks probably will keep its name, despite a recent attempt to rename it. A California resident in July 2020 proposed renaming Mount Rushmore to Igmu Tanka Paha, a Lakota Sioux name that means Cougar Mountain, according to the federal Board on Geographic Names.
Anyone can submit a proposal to rename a geographic feature, but the board tends to be conservative when considering such requests, said Jennifer Runyon, a senior researcher with the board. A national landmark like Mount Rushmore introduces additional complications, and a name change would likely require overwhelming public support. Additionally, the board only has the power to rename the mountain itself — not the national monument that shares its name.
The discussion about changing street and station names in Berlin is not new, but the new racism debate triggered by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota seems to be speeding things up. Two renamings are imminent.
Earlier this month, inhabitants of Wissmannstrasse in Berlin’s Neukölln district received leaflets with interesting content. It included an announcement according to which “Wissmannstrasse will be renamed”. Residents are supposed to hand in suggestions for a new name. The idea of renaming the street next to Hasenheide park is old. And there is a good reason: Hermann von Wissmann, whom the street was named after and who lived from 1853 to 1905, was the “colonial administrator” of ‘German East Africa’. His job title sounds good, but what he actually did does not.
After George Floyd, an African American, was killed during a police arrest in Minneapolis, United States, many people protested, in the United States and internationally. During the course of these protests, many controversial monuments and memorials were vandalized or toppled by protestors, prompting those in charge of other similar monuments to remove them from public view.
Similarly, many controversial names, mascots, and other forms of symbolism were changed, due to increasing public pressure or otherwise. In some countries, other race-related and colonial issues were also raised, and some were acted upon. In some cases changes that were planned or under consideration before the protests were expedited consequent to the protests.
The list with over 200 ergonyms (names in public space) may be found and edited on Wikipedia.
Senate Republicans have a simple message after President Donald Trump dashed off a tweet threatening to veto their must-pass defense policy bill over the renaming of bases named for Confederate leaders: Give it some time.
Republicans responded to Trump’s tweet by noting that the bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, is a long way from the President’s desk — arguing they had ample opportunity to address an amendment that calls for the removal of the names of Confederate leaders from all military assets within three years.
The amendment to rename military installations was added to the annual defense policy bill by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts when the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the legislation in June 2020. The issue of bases named after Confederate leaders, and Trump’s staunch resistance, has put Republicans in an awkward spot, dividing Senate Republicans who are facing reelection fights in 2020.
The city of Columbus, Ohio, has already vowed to bring down its statue of Christopher Columbus. But thousands are hoping to erase the city's connection to Columbus' legacy even further by renaming it Flavortown in honor of Columbus native Guy Fieri.
For Tyler Woodbridge, who spent over seven years of his life in Columbus, the statue's removal wasn't enough. "Even though it's my favorite city, I was always a bit ashamed of the name," Woodbridge told CNN. So the 32-year-old started a petition to rename the city to Flavortown in honor of Fieri, the celebrity restaurateur who was born in Columbus. Fieri's use of the expression on his various shows on The Food Network has become his signature catchphrase.