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Australian placenames containing racist n-word are to be replaced with new names

Erik G

TEN PLACE NAMES containing the n-word in northeast Australia will be renamed due to their racially offensive connotations, the Queensland state government has said.

References to Niggers Bounce in northern Queensland were removed from all databases in May, the state’s natural resources and mines department said.

It then reviewed its database and nine other places that contain the same word — Mount Nigger, Nigger Head and seven spots named Nigger Creek — had their names discontinued as well.

“The place names policy includes guidelines and naming principles that allow offensive names to be discontinued and alternative names proposed,” the department added in a statement.

The places have yet to be given new names and their old ones will still appear on historical maps, plans and records.

The changes come amid debate in Australia over colonial-era statues, with critics calling for greater acknowledgement of the role of Aboriginals in the nation’s history.

Indigenous Australian cultures stretch back tens of thousands of years before early European settlers.

While not carrying quite the same weight as in the US, the n-word remains highly offensive and derogatory to indigenous Australians and minorities of African descent.

“We welcome the removal of those names since the n-word is an unmistakably racial slur and a potent symbol of slavery, white supremacy and violence,” Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich told reporters.

“It is rooted in hate, and has often been employed to dehumanise and to perpetuate demeaning stereotypes.”

New Zealand last year renamed three areas in the Southern Alps of the South Island containing the n-word, replacing them with words taken from the indigenous Maori language.

© – AFP 2017

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