Change the name of 'Okie Street' in D.C.

Friday, February 11, 2011; 7:25 PM

Courtland Milloy gave another beating to a well-flogged horse with his Feb. 7 Metro column concerning the name of a local football team. His years-long campaign against the Washington "Redskins" having borne no fruit, might I suggest that he turn to another name that could be discarded by local action and without intervention by the courts or the NFL?

I refer to Okie Street NE, a short thoroughfare that intersects New York Avenue NE a few miles east of downtown Washington.

"Okie" is a cruel epithet applied to farm families driven off their lands in Oklahoma and other Midwestern states during the Dust Bowl tragedy of the 1930s. Locals greeted them with disdain and contempt when they tried to fashion new lives in California, as immortalized by John Steinbeck in his novel "The Grapes of Wrath."

I recommend you not use "Okie" unless you happen to be one. Employing it in, say, a Tulsa bar could bring about a permanent realignment of your face. Yet here it is - the name of a street in our city.

Could Milloy interrupt his football-name crusade long enough to urge the D.C. Council to get rid of this disgusting term? I feel shame on behalf of the District each time I see this street marker.

Joseph C. Goulden, Washington

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