Issue of the day: US controversy as the word ‘chief’ faces being banned

THE term “chief” should no longer be used in connection with whole swaths of jobs in some parts of America due to concerns that it would be offensive to Native Americans.


It’s a word we’re used to and which has entered common parlance, defined by the dictionary as “a leader of the people”. The White House has a chief of staff, for example, and there are also chief medical officers in Britain, and while big companies have chief executive officers, the UK also has a chief. defense staff, etc.


The San Francisco Unified School District released an administrative decision on Wednesday, announcing that among its 10,000 employees, a decision was made to “retire” the word “leader.”


Basically, to avoid the word’s ties to Native Americans. Spokesperson Gentle Blythe, told the San Francisco Chronicle: “While there are many opinions on the matter, our leadership team agreed that since Native American members of our community have expressed concerns about use of the title, we will no longer use it.”

What to use instead?

The school authority has yet to come up with a suitable replacement, but Ms Blythe said the removal of the ‘head’ was not a demotion, adding: ‘By changing the way we refer to our division heads, we in no way diminish the indispensable contributions. of our district central service managers.

It’s already arrived ?

In the summer of 2020, city officials in Duluth, Minnesota in the United States voted to ban the ‘Chief’ from job titles, fearing it would be offensive to Native Americans, saying they planned to d call the city’s ‘administrative director’ the ‘city administrator’. and the “financial director” the “financial director”

So it’s a controversial word in the United States?

It is now, but its origins are not American. “Chief” is an English word taken from an old French word (chef) which meant “head” and itself was derived from the Latin “capus” to mean “captain” or “head”.

Is the move covered?

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a group of American conservative activists, tweeted that the decision was made by “ignorant Marxists”. Michael Seifert, founder of online community PublicSq, tweeted: “With all the problems in San Francisco (endemic drug addiction, mass homelessness, political corruption, etc.), their leaders decide to focus on banning the use of the word ‘chief’.” Author Adam Bray also tweeted, “The word ‘chief’ is even French, from Latin. It has no exclusive relationship to Native American culture or history. It has been used to describe leaders of cultures from around the world for centuries. San Francisco idiots don’t care about being in charge of education.”

It comes like…

…In 2020, the owners of the Washington Redskins changed its name to “Football Team” after decades of criticism for using the term which was used in America as a racial slur against Native Americans and removed its logo which had featured a Native American’s favorite for its highs and brand image. In February of that year they were renamed the Washington Commanders.

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