The Toronto District School Board will soon discontinue using the word “chief” in job titles “out of respect for Indigenous peoples,” even though district spokesman Ryan Bird admitted no Indigenous people have requested such a change. The district says the decision was made “in the spirit” of recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body that sounds as if it would’ve been right at home in the Third Reich. In fairness, the Commission was established in 2008 as part of a comprehensive response addressing real- and significant- issues of abuse within the Indian residential school system, and the less than stellar legacy those institutions left behind. Issues that in no way involved the use of the word “chief.”
Bird even allows that “chief” did not originate as an indigenous word, but says that it has, or could be, used “in a negative way to describe Indigenous people.” He added, “With that in mind,” the administration made the decision to be “proactive on that.” The vast majority of words- in any language- could be used “in a negative way” to describe any peoples.
In reality, “chief” is derived from the Latin word “kaput,” which meant “head,” and came to us by way of the French language, according to Google Answers. (This doesn’t sound correct to me. I always thought kaput was German for “destroyed” or “finished”). This, the site avers, is why the term is so similar to “chef,” which is short for “chef de cuisine,” meaning “head of kitchen.”
The TDSB says job titles such as chief financial officer and chief academic officer will be replaced with terms like “manager” or “executive officer.”
So, the TDSB is doing away with an innocuous term that has its origins in Latin and French and means “head” or “leader” or “top dog” because it considers those characterizations to be potentially offensive or slanderous and is therefore replacing it with blander and less specific ones? That’s progress!
We here in the United States should show solidarity with our TDSB comrades by immediately discontinuing use of the term Commander-in-Chief for our
Manager Executive. The National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs should be
forced to rebrand as the Kansas City Executive Officers.
chiefly most distressed about is that, with everyone either offended
by everything, or worried that someone might be offended by anything, we are
literally losing our unique human ability to communicate verbally while we lock
ourselves in a colorless, mindless, lifeless prison of our own device.
And, if we keep going down this road, our societies will soon be kaput.
In the German sense of the term.