The real story
In one sense I strongly agree with, while in another sense I respectfully disagree with the “Zero” assessment of the Dixie School District in San Rafael [Hero and Zero, July 22].
I definitely agree in the strongest terms with the need for our societies to continue to discriminate against racism and other forms of personal and institutional bias in every way possible. If District officials are intentionally obfuscating the origin of the name of the District (or just plain wrong) they should be reprimanded and censored in the strongest terms, and (unless they are just plain wrong) should probably be dismissed from the District or forced to resign by the community. My hope, expectation, and presumption is that neither of these is the case.
But if as indicated in the Zero column and as apparently suggested by District officials the true origin of the name is in fact a local Miwok family name, an entirely different story is created. In this case the District may want to clarify the official name publicly to include the given (first) name of the person from which the District name derives.
The real story could be difficult to discover. Evidence presented in the column; that “ … the District was named during the time frame of the Civil War … ” seems troubling. I’m not an expert on history but I’m surprised if there were any public school districts created in that period; if that part of the story is true perhaps the District was created by a local church.
Either way, from what I think I know about California history it seems unlikely a public entity or a church in 1863 would name a school district after a Native American. Nonetheless a notion that the District might have been named in 1863 in solidarity with Confederate States but that the origin of the name was obfuscated over time to be “politically correct” seems especially confusing.
As members of a global society we need to discriminate issues such as this carefully because to do otherwise reduces not only those we wish to protect and respect but ourselves and our global society as well. I am certainly encouraged that as members of society we are asking these questions and are willing to come to difficult conclusions.
—Craig Domeny, San Rafael