June 23, 2021

What’s in a name? Irony in an L.A. moniker

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Well, the Los Angeles stretch of Interstate 10 has been named the Rosa Parks Freeway. That’s right. The heroine of the civil-rights movement. The woman who became a symbol of integration. The icon, small in stature, who stood up to oppression. Rosa Parks died last month peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family at the age of 92. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution that allowed her to lie in repose at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. – the first woman shown that honor. How do we celebrate her legacy in the City of Angels? The answer: Ironically. My question: What would have been wrong with dubbing the 5 Freeway, or any other freeway in this city, after Rosa? This naming of the 10 after Rosa Parks is like naming a brand of crop pesticide after Cesar Chavez, renaming the Hooters chain after Gloria Steinem, naming a home for single mothers after Margaret Sanger, or naming a smart-bomb after Ghandi. Yes, it’s an honor to have things named after you – but not just anything. President George W. Bush may equate dissent with disloyalty, but the same is not true of those who can be called Angelenos. Complaining about Los Angeles is actually a citywide pastime. It’s a bonding ritual for the residents. Go to any bar, restaurant or public event and yell at the top of your lungs, “This city is retarded!” Watch all within earshot nod their heads in agreement and then quickly go back to talking about themselves. A city undefended against critics? That’s part of its charm. It’s the glue that binds us as we sit alone in traffic. With that all being said, someone needs to point out the following: This city has a race chasm. It’s called the 10 Freeway. It has commonly been observed that that freeway is the racial divide for the city’s black residents. This city is racially segregated. Speaking of things that don’t fit with their namesake, there will eventually be a library named after George W. Bush. Let’s just say that there probably won’t be a lot of books there – you know, things we normally associate with libraries. I know it’s a cheap shot, but note that I have the decency not to go after his wife. As a city we already have a host of problems. The traffic, the smog, the language barriers, the economic gaps, the housing cost comparable to that for a condo on the lunar surface. We have issues, and we have plenty of people willing to point them out (I’m including myself). My point being: We don’t have to work hard to give our dissenters/residents fodder. So the next time you’re crawling along the segregation line of Los Angeles, named after a woman who personified protesting against segregation, go ahead and yell out, “This city is retarded.” Those aren’t what you would call “fighting words.”— Tina Dupuy is a stand-up comic and a writer living in Los Angeles. She’s the author of the blog www.sardonicsideshow.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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