Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Plantation Politics

Yesterday, on the eve of Obama's inauguration, I passed an upscale designer furniture store that's been situated on Hayes Street between Franklin and Gough for the last couple of years.

The name "Plantation" has always struck me as silly, but on this particular Martin Luther King, Jr. day, it seemed particularly stupid and offensive. "What were these queens thinking?" I asked my neighbor Richard. "Have they never met a black person?"

The 10-year-old furniture design chain is based in Los Angeles and seems to have quite a few Australians in the mix, which might help explain some of the racial tone deafness of their brand.

How does one explain the tone deafness of the San Francisco Chronicle website, though? Today it was offering "live chat" about Obama's inauguration with the Bay Area's version of Ann Coulter, none other than the right wing harpie Debra J. Saunders. This newspaper really cannot die soon enough.

1 comment:

Matthew Hubbard said...

I'm reading The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell, and the original Massachusetts Bay Co. Puritans called Boston a "plantation" when they founded it, and the earliest settlers there had no slaves, barely able to keep themselves alive at first.

It's odd to see the word free of racial context.