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Wow so many people miss the point here. It's sad that realizing and accepting that things can and do offend people is so exhausting and considered not worthy of someone's time. No one is claiming that people are awful for not realizing something is offensive. But when it's brought up that it offensive toward a group of people, why is it so important that you continue saying it? Is this inconvenience to you somehow so much more important than the feelings of an entire oppressed group?! If you can't listen to the PoC who have commented about it directly hurts them and then feel any differently, there's nothing I can do but feel sorry for your lack of empathy. It's something that I think a lot of people need to work on finding within them. Put yourself in others' shoes. It really, really helps a whole lot. And if me caring about not offending groups of people I'm not even a PART of makes me "oversensitive", so be it. That's just ridiculous.
 

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This post makes me want to bang my head against a wall.
Same here... but not for the same reason.

If you go looking into everything looking for a hidden meaning, You are going to find it.
We don't go looking for offensive meanings for fun... NO ONE finds that enjoyable. We see some things as offensive because, guess what, they are offensive. It doesn't matter if you think Gypsy or Cherokee are cute names, it really doesn't, because they are offensive regardless.

Also, when someone points out that something you (general you, not singling you out, DarkMoon) say or do is racist, it's not a personal attack on you or anything of the sort. As Laurelin said, it's a heads up, and you should take it as an opportunity to correct that behaviour because yes, the feelings of the people it may offend matter. I frankly can't understand how that's apparently so difficult.
 

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The good people of Sitka, Alaska resent your dog's name!

Kidding.

Actually, if it was offensive I would probably opt to change it slightly (to something like Siska for example). I had no idea Sitka was the name of a town somewhere when I chose the name, I just came up with it and liked how it sounded. But your answer prompted me to do some quick research and it appears the name Sitka is derived from the local Tlingit language... so I may be in the same situation as GoGoGypsy after all :/ Are you from there?
 

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Yeah... I'm just... done. Feeling like a broken record here and very very sad to see this type of ignorance in a usually open and welcoming forum. I feel very VERY unwelcomed here right now.
 

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Are you from there?
No, but not too far. Don't worry, Sitka is a beautiful place with a lot of meaning and memories for many people, so there are probably a lot of dogs named Sitka around. Imho, place names should usually be acceptable pet names. I'm sure there are lots of dogs named Paris out there, and even London, usually because the caretaker likes those cities. Don't change Sitka's name now! She (he?) could be traumatized. :- ) Long live Sitka city and Sitka doggy.

Sitka - A new story
Luna - Forever loved
Nicely written.
 

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I think there's a difference between a single person taking offense to a name and a name being really hurtful to a group of people as a whole.

Like, one person from a city/place being offended that you named your dog after their city? Oh well, enjoy your Paris/London/Seattle/Sitka and move on.
Naming your dog Auschwitz? Not cool.

I have mixed feelings about stuff like Django. Because there is this single movie vs. an otherwise perfectly good name with other, more positive or neutral associations in popular culture (especially if you include Jango, which you'd never appreciate the difference unless you saw it written). And I know a crapload of B&W dogs named Oreo after the cookie. It would never even occur to me that it was being used as a slur; I think sometimes people deserve the benefit of the doubt regarding their intentions and that's one time for sure.

My own mom, a staunch Republican, once suspiciously asked me if I named Maisy after Joe Biden's granddaughter (who I didn't even know was named Maisy). Picked it relatively randomly off a list of baby names because I wanted a girly name but knew too many girl dogs named Daisy, Dotty, etc. That was pretty eye-roll worthy, really.
 

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I don't see an issue with using a NAME from another language. Sitka is a name of a place/city.
 

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I don't see an issue with using a NAME from another language. Sitka is a name of a place/city.
Yea but if you want to be really technical every name means something from some other language or culture. Very few names are -just- names, unless they're literally just made up from nothing.
 

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Thanks for your opinions guys :) The reason why I got worried was because according to Wikipedia (which is admitedly not the most reliable source, but I didn't have time to do more in-depth research) Sitka does mean something in the Tlingit language ("The current name "Sitka" (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Baranof Island")

I think to be sure I'd have to actually ask a Tlingit person whether the use of the name for a dog is offensive, but yeah, that's not gonna be easy... The cultural context is also very different since I'm in Europe. In any case, I'd rather unnecessarily worry about offending someone than not worry about something I know could be potentially offensive.

Nicely written.
Thank you :)
 

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Yea but if you want to be really technical every name means something from some other language or culture. Very few names are -just- names, unless they're literally just made up from nothing.
That's what I'm saying.

Mia is technically not an English origin name. You can just go down the rabbit hole forever that way.
 

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I don't see an issue with using a NAME from another language. Sitka is a name of a place/city.
Yeah but so is Cherokee and Apache and probably a lot of others that people have said are offensive but I don't want to look them up :p.

It's just. . .I already have social anxiety, mostly revolving around whether I'll accidentally offend someone. I like to know and understand The Rules. And I'm not understanding these rules. It's probably good I live in a homogenous area or I'd be too afraid to interact with anyone. I feel like anyone could take offense to anything I name my dog, and we can't all name our dogs ____ (I was going to use some example of a totally innocent name but I can't even think of one that someone wouldn't object to!). Bleh. Maybe I overthink things. But now I can tell you 3 different reasons someone could object to me naming my dog Penny ;).
 

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Yeah but so is Cherokee and Apache and probably a lot of others that people have said are offensive but I don't want to look them up :p.

It's just. . .I already have social anxiety, mostly revolving around whether I'll accidentally offend someone. I like to know and understand The Rules. And I'm not understanding these rules. It's probably good I live in a homogenous area or I'd be too afraid to interact with anyone. I feel like anyone could take offense to anything I name my dog, and we can't all name our dogs ____ (I was going to use some example of a totally innocent name but I can't even think of one that someone wouldn't object to!). Bleh. Maybe I overthink things. But now I can tell you 3 different reasons someone could object to me naming my dog Penny ;).
Cherokee and Apache refer to specific Indigenous groups, with a history of being oppressed by colonialism by European powers. That's what makes it problematic. That's like a Japanese person naming a dog "Korean" or "Goryuh-in" (which means person of Goryo, where "Korea" is derived from). With the history between the two countries (Japan was an imperial colonial power in Asia, and during that time killed, tortured and enslaved thousands of Chinese and Korean people), I would be extremely uncomfortable and offended if a Japanese person named their dog that.

I'm trying to make it more easily understandable for some people... but like the example I just gave above, especially with how recent colonialist projects are, would make me extremely angry.

I think maybe it would be easier if we had Native American people (who self-identify with the cultures specifically) here on this forum to better explicate this. I do not feel comfortable talking about that because I am not Native American so I don't know how they would feel... but as a person belonging to an ethnic group that HAS been under colonial pressure, who has family members who have directly experienced colonial oppression and violence, I am not comfortable with those names.
 

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One of Wesson's puppies is named London. I know several Sitkas and Gypsys
 

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Are people really confused about the difference between offending a group of people with slurs versus naming a dog after a town or city that is not connected to any oppression or negative connotations?
 

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Are people really confused about the difference between offending a group of people with slurs versus naming a dog after a town or city that is not connected to any oppression or negative connotations?
No, people are just musing about how you could really trace almost anything back to something offensive.

There are names that are obviously offensive.
There are names that are not so obviously offensive (especially to a privileged group).
There are names that are in a grey area.
There are names that seem pretty safe.

It's the 3rd and 4th groups that people are just musing about. It's never going to be perfect, sometimes people are going to be offended by the name someone else chose. I think if people do their best to be sensitive when they're naming & be willing to learn, and other people give namers' intentions the benefit of the doubt (like the Oreo example) then what more can you ask really?
 

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No, people are just musing about how you could really trace almost anything back to something offensive.

There are names that are obviously offensive.
There are names that are not so obviously offensive (especially to a privileged group).
There are names that are in a grey area.
There are names that seem pretty safe.

It's the 3rd and 4th groups that people are just musing about. It's never going to be perfect, sometimes people are going to be offended by the name someone else chose. I think if people do their best to be sensitive when they're naming & be willing to learn, and other people give namers' intentions the benefit of the doubt (like the Oreo example) then what more can you ask really?
This. Agree 100%.
I just think people should be cognizant. Just be careful.
 

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I guess I don't see how using the word as a name in any way disrespects their history of colonial oppression. I have spoken to some Native Americans (OK, those I spoke to hate that term; they just say "Native") about the subject, and those I spoke to who were around my age think it's all stupid :p. I've never met anyone from the Lakota/Nakota/Dakota Sioux tribes who objected to the use of Lakota/Nakota/Dakota or Sioux. They are trying to get the place names with "squaw" in them changed, because apparently that's a Very Bad Word in their language, but they have no objection to the place names with non-offensive references to their tribes.

I have a cat named Dakota. I didn't name her but I didn't change it either. I don't think anyone would be offended but it's hard to know.
 

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Are people really confused about the difference between offending a group of people with slurs versus naming a dog after a town or city that is not connected to any oppression or negative connotations?
Is this directed at me? If it is, just for clarification: I brought up my dog's name because I was worried that it could be considered culturally appropriative. I do however see a difference between a name like Sitka, which is connected to native american history, and a name like Paris or London which is absolutely not linked to any kind of systemic oppression.
 

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I guess I don't see how using the word as a name in any way disrespects their history of colonial oppression. I have spoken to some Native Americans (OK, those I spoke to hate that term; they just say "Native") about the subject, and those I spoke to who were around my age think it's all stupid :p. I've never met anyone from the Lakota/Nakota/Dakota Sioux tribes who objected to the use of Lakota/Nakota/Dakota or Sioux. They are trying to get the place names with "squaw" in them changed, because apparently that's a Very Bad Word in their language, but they have no objection to the place names with non-offensive references to their tribes.

I have a cat named Dakota. I didn't name her but I didn't change it either. I don't think anyone would be offended but it's hard to know.
Well in the example I gave, I can guarantee at least 80% people would be offended. Maybe it's because Japan has never issued an apology for the enslavement of my people, or that they actually refuse to acknowledge all the abuse and atrocities that Korean and Chinese people went through (look up comfort women during the world wars). Maybe it has to do with the fact that my grandma was displaced, not allowed back into her country, forced to live in China because of the Japanese occupation. Maybe it's all of these things, but for a Japanese person who is the owner of the dog to name their dog after my country, a part of my identity, it's like they're claiming it all over again, and it's upsetting.

I can't say to what Indigenous people would say, but over here, from what I've learned (though definitely limited) is that many would find it offensive. Maybe it's a regional thing as people have pointed out, but people do not name their dogs after Indigenous tribes here. It's considered offensive.

There's a whole field of research in art history regarding topographical renaming of land as a means of justifying land claim (i.e. "terra nullus" despite it being inhabited) and I can go on and on about that but I won't. Basically my point being that names do matter, and they have a profound effect on how people perceive various issues, including that of race and ethnicity.

And yes, squaw is a derogatory term. I'm not sure if you recently saw but there was an uproar here in Canada over a fashion label called dsquared who hashtagged their new line of clothing (which used a lot of culturally appropriated Indigenous elements, which were also problematic because they were just basically a bastardized version of Indigenous cultures they meant to "quote") under "dsquaw."

Aaaanyway, this is going way off topic here.

So just generally, with dog names, let's be sensible peeps!
 
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