More town names to change before they offend anyone (Opinion)
As New Jersey is looking likely to end use of the term “freeholder” because of its ties to the slavery era. And yet, county officials aren't the only ones using a variant of the term — so are Freehold Township and Freehold Borough
That got Jim Gearhart wondering what else needs changing during the latest weekly Jim Gearhart podcast and Facebook Live show.
A bill, A3594/S855, changing the term "freeholder" to "county commissioner" has been endorsed by two legislative committees in recent days and is fast-tracked for final approval next week, fueled by a sudden interest in changing an anachronistic title that dates to when only debt-free landowners – who were always white, male, and well, free – could hold office.
The bill has the support of Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.
“So the question pops into your mouth, are there other towns in New Jersey that are going to fall beneath the politically correct steamroller?” Jim asks.
He came up with a list of a few towns:
- Egg Harbor: “it’s offensive to vegans”
- Washington (all five of them), Franklin and Jefferson
- Mansfield: “That would be offensive to women. You could change it to ‘Personsfield.’”
- Southampton: “You know. The South. They’re wiping the South from memory.”
- Magnolia: “It’s sort of a southern symbol.”
- Shiloh: “I believe the rebels of the South won the Battle of Shiloh” during the Civil War. “We don’t want to remember that. “
- Weehawken: “Small people.”
- Bethlehem: “It would be offensive to atheists”
- Clinton: “That’s offensive to me.”
- Victory Gardens: “That is xenophobic. Victory? Really?”
- Scotch Plains: “That would offend alcoholics.”
- Ho Ho Kus: “Ho ho reminds you of Santa Claus, which is a reminder of Christmas. And Christmas, of course, is very very offensive.”
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That's just part of what Jim and Bob Williams take on in the latest installment of his show, also available as a podcast. Check out the full episode to hear the rest.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5's Jim Gearhart. Any opinions expressed are Jim's own.
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