Changing the Name to Hide the Shame

Superman’s “disguise” is one of the best jokes in United States culture. In all seriousness, how did folks from Metropolis never spot a grown titan ripping off clothes in alleys all the time just because he wore glasses? Did they never find the ripped clothing? Was everyone so scrupulous that no one took his briefcase, which likely held a wallet, every single time? The “gift” of the pandemic has revealed much about what life has been for so many people, not just in the United States, but globally, and those who benefit from the status quo have been frantic to put the glasses back on and have people believe in Clark Kent.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I posted about trails surrounding Town Lake in Austin, showing how those with power manipulate the surroundings so that “regular” folks are forced away from familiar areas. Like all of my research, I did searches in the city minutes on organizations, the main one being The Trail Foundation. There were several meetings, lots of approval, and the displacement of many people in favor of the parasite, Larry Ellison, who also feels entitled to own an island in Hawaii. While I tend to search for injustice in an effort for people to make reparative efforts, the sad truth is that I mostly summarize documents already in existence, and I let the story tell itself. This story did not make The Trail Foundation look good, and one of the more recent changes in hip, happening Austin is that they changed their name to The Trail Conservancy. I do not pretend to have that much influence, so logic dictates that the organization knew its behavior was problematic and began making efforts to sanitize their presence in history. This is one of the many reasons while people should be very thorough when researching history, because just like switching mascots fails to the change the NFL, changing an organization’s name does not change its behavior.

Moreover, today a Black man was named as the head of the Democratic Party, Hakeem Jeffries, who will be the first Black leader of the Democratic Party. That sounds good, right? This nation loves colonial firsts! However, consider how damaged, beaten, and corrupted the reputation of the Democratic Party is at this moment in time. Naming Jeffries to “lead” the party now–because everyone has already seen how much “leadership” Black people are really allowed to have under Obama–is saying, “Here’s a mess, Black people. Clean it up the way we’ve always expected you to do.” What is the go-to response when people have destroyed their own prowess? Find a Black person to make the scapegoat. Therefore, no, changing the name does not change the mess, nor does it change the fact that the public expects railworkers to endure exploitation so that Christmas comes on time.

Killing the dominant narrative means being able to critically think about how and why things affect different people in different ways, but doing so also means not falling for the same schtick. Just like the parties’ “switching” their perspectives–which is why Abraham Lincoln was a Republican–simply changing how we refer to people does not their essence. Those with resources have the money to change their image as easily as changing outfits to a blue leotard, but this is the era of looking in alleys to find the ripped clothes.

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