Thursday, June 18, 2009

Maine Forbids The Use Of The Word "Squaw", "Squa" Or Derivations Thereof

Hilarious. We didn't even know the word "squaw" was controversial, but as of tonight at least one of us here at TILB is heretofore referring to his wife as his squaw.

At least nothing important is happening for politicians to focus on. I'd hate for them to be distracted from their core business of speech control.

Excerpted from the WSJ:
The lane in question, on a woodsy bluff overlooking the ocean, was once called Squaw Point Road. Maine banned the word "squaw" from place names in 2000, in deference to Indians who consider it racist. Names such as Squaw's Bosom Mountain and Little Squaw Brook quietly receded into history.

Competing signs for a contested road in Stockton Springs, Maine.

But residents here played Scrabble with the spelling instead. They renamed the road Squawpoint -- then later, Squa Point and Squapoint, complying with the letter of the law but not with its spirit, critics say.

The resistance prompted the state into action again. This month, Maine lawmakers amended the law to ban public place names that include "the designation 'squa' or any derivation of 'squa' as a separate word or as a separate syllable in a word."

Lesley Cosmano, a retired Chicago schoolteacher who moved here with her husband in 2005, finds the amendment ridiculous. "This means birds can no longer squawk, people can't squabble" and town squares might be outlawed, she says, in her dining room with views of Penobscot Bay -- namesake of one of Maine's largest Indian tribes.

On Saturday, Stockton Springs residents will vote on a new town ordinance drafted by Ms. Cosmano and her allies. If passed, the ordinance will let them rename the road again. They've already picked a new handle: Squall Point Road. Ms. Cosmano stresses the Norse origins of the word "squall" and cites strong winds that batter the coast here.