Yesterday, April 9, 2003
, the Los Angeles
City Council voted unanimously to officialy rename the area of Los Angeles known as South Central Los Angeles
(or, more simply, South Central LA) to the new name of South Los Angeles.
South (Central) Los Angeles is an area of the city located south of the I10 (the Santa Monica Freeway), known primarily for having a high crime rate and low per-capita income. Its problems are typical, if not worse, than many other "inner city" areas across the country. In short, its probably not a place you'd want to go walking alone in at night.
The council voted to change the area's name, apparently, to remove from it the stigma that has become associated with its name.
It seems a bit strange (at least to this observer) that the Los Angeles City Council believes that an area's problems can be solved by changing its name. One wonders if, in several years, the term "South Los Angeles" will carry positive conotations, especially if the City Council does nothing to improve the problems that originaly caused the term "South Central Los Angeles" to carry such negative ones.
Helen Johnson, the 72-year-old Vermont Square resident who proposed the measure, was jubilant after the council vote. "This is a day that I shall never forget," she said.
Johnson immediately moved to broaden her campaign beyond City Hall, blaming the news media for perpetuating a term that has become synonymous with urban poverty and asking reporters to do a better job of identifying the neighborhoods they are covering.1
It also seems a bit strange that one would be "blaming the news media for perpetuating a term that has become synonymous with urban poverty
", rather than blaming those
who have helped to perpetuate the urban poverty itself.