The Most Cringe-worthy Street in Vancouver

I walk past this street from time to time, and every time I walk by, I am reminded of how good intentions can go horribly wrong.

The name is intended to memorialize a portion of Vancouver’s Black community. This is a noble effort, and the city should be commended for it.

However.

The street is named after a nameless individual. What’s worse, it’s named after a particular job, a job that was limited to Black men because of the servile nature of the work.

The city might as well have called this “Black Maid Street,” or “George Street”.

Changing the name so that it represents a class or group of individuals is marginally better, but what would have been even better would have been to name it after A. Philip Randolph, for example.

By Cecily Walker

Cecily is a mid-career library professional. She's spoken at library and design conferences in Canada and the United States and is interested in equity, justice, and the intersection of critical race, gender, and sexuality theory and librarianship. When she's not being a humourless feminist, you can find her holding court on Twitter or riding a Vespa around town where she entertains fantasies of being Batgirl. The ideas and thoughts expressed on this blog are her own: Cecily does not now, nor has she ever, spoken for her employer.