Thursday, January 2, 2014

Politically Correct Neighborhood Names

The Chinese Consulate on the southwest corner of Geary Boulevard and Laguna Street suffered an arson attack on its front door last night. It is for news like this that I monitor the ABC7 News Web site with an RSS feed. In this case, however, the source was Bay City News; and what struck me the most was not the news itself (I walk by the Consulate regularly, and there are always protests in front of it) but the description of its location. It was described as being in the "Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood."

I had never before encountered this nomenclature. My immediate reaction was my fond memories of the University of Southern North Dakota (at Hoople). I realized that I had always described the location through juxtaposition. Either it was "just off Cathedral Hill" or it was "on Geary as you approach Japantown." I realized that, from a diplomatic perspective, the Chinese probably did all they could to eliminate their geographic association with a major Japanese neighborhood or a Catholic cathedral. So the best they could come up with was being on the edge of the ascent to Pacific Heights.

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