PRINCIPLED CASE FOR CHANGE
As we watch what is going on in America in 2020, we see signals for the need for change, symbolic as well as more substantive change. As a sign of our collective goodwill, we hope you can join us in supporting the removal of the word ‘plantation’ from our name. White landowners in America enriched themselves in an agrarian society that imported and enslaved black workers on “plantations.” Legally, slavery in America was abolished, but the unrest we are experiencing today reveals that the oppression has never ceased.
Why make the change? Because it provokes an emotional and offensive reaction on the part of black and white members of our community. Because so many local communities have either already removed the designation from their names (Sea Pines, Palmetto Hall, Shipyard, Wexford, Indigo Run, Leamington, Belfair, Colleton River, etc.), or they are in the process of doing so (Port Royal, Rose Hill, and Bull Point), in recognition of the association of the term with such negative connotations and feelings.
This was the home of the first freed slaves. That is an immensely important part of our legacy, and it should be honored. It is not honored by having a reminder of the ‘generational grief’ that blacks have shouldered for hundreds of years. You may not understand this or agree. But a black person who trusts you enough, to be honest, will tell you why it’s an issue. Here’s one such response:
“I am an African American and it is a very unpleasant part of living in the south. The word plantation evokes images of slavery, images that are ugly and painful to think about. No, I’ve never been a slave, but my ancestors were. They were brought here against their will and brought to “PLANTATIONS” to pick cotton 10-16 hours a day, 6 days a week, and if the overseer thought they weren’t fast enough they were beaten. Our women were raped, children stripped from parents, and our men were killed on “PLANTATIONS“. So yes, if you have any black friends or acquaintances, ask them.” (Comment, Island Packet Editorial, June 8, 2020)
The elimination of the word “plantation” from the gated communities in our area has been in progress for several years as an acknowledgment that it is no longer okay to use language that perpetuates the memory of a shameful time in our history. As stated by a family in our community who worked on the change a few years ago:
“We don’t understand why it takes an uprising following the tragic death of George Floyd to again draw attention to the fact that naming our wonderful communities ‘Plantations’ is offensive and disrespectful.” And: “This is not a geographical issue. This is not a political issue. This is about shedding a negative racial stigma and respecting humankind.”
We have an amazing, diverse community that provides amenities, friendships and security to 4,000+ households and we want our name to reflect a more current, more descriptive picture of who we are and our humanity.