Amanda Gray & Nicole Stirling: Time to change name to Raccoon Street
It is long overdue that our community needs to change the name of Coon Street in Kings Beach to Raccoon Street.
While “coon” may be a shortened version of raccoon in other parts of the world in California we do not shorten that word, and we never have (at least not in current times). As long time Tahoe residents, we knew the word was a negative connotation for black people even as kids in the ’80s, we thought that it should have been changed back then. Here we are 40 years later, and we are still living with a negative nickname as one of our street names.
In Tahoe we call them “raccoons” and never “coons.” There is no reason, be it current or 100 years ago, that we shorten the word raccoon on one of our street signs.
This is the perfect climate to have a conversation about why we have allowed it to remain Coon Street and why we have accepted it for as long as we have. It is time for change, and this is a simple one that we can make in our little community. Kings Beach and Placer County should not be proud to have a street name that is mostly used as a negative nickname. We are proud of our beaches, our trails, our beautiful lake, our tight and loving community, and even our “grid” of streets in Kings Beach with animals running north/south and fish running east/west, but as community members who live within the “grid” we should not be proud to have Coon Street as one of our street names.
Placer County has a road re-naming policy, and there are several steps that we will need to take to change the name of the road. We would appreciate community support in our upcoming petition with Placer County Public Works to begin the process of Board approval for officially changing the name of Coon Street to Raccoon Street.
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