Public schools in San Francisco are dropping the word "chief" from job titles because of the word's connotation with Native Americans, school officials said. For example, no longer will division chiefs be referred to as "chiefs" in the San Francisco Unified School District, spokesperson Gentle (!) Blythe told the San Francisco Chronicle. The decision applies to all of the school district's 10,000 employees.
Blythe blithely said, “While there are many opinions on the matter, our leadership team agreed that, given that Native American members of our community have expressed concerns over the use of the title, we are no longer going to use it.” Ergo, the school district will need to come up with a new word to replace “chief” in job titles like "chief technology officer" or "chief of staff."
So, out with Chief Executive Officer, or CEO. Ban the use of Chief Information Officer (CIO.) And permanently round-file Chief Operating Officer (COO.) For that matter, handkerchief should be verboten, as well.
And, if words with laudable and dignified connotations such as “chief” and “brave” are deemed offensive, then those such as “tribe,” “Teepee,” “tomahawk,” “maze,” and “pemmican” must be shit-canned, as well. If for no other reason than to avoid appropriation.
Ironically, the word “chief” apparently doesn’t even have native American roots. Rather, it is an English word borrowed from an Old French word (chef) meaning “leader,” which was itself derived from the Latin “capus,” meaning captain. In its noun form, chief simply means the leader or head of a group of people.
This means, I think, that the San Francisco Unified School District is acting chiefly out of mischief.