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Poll: Is the Word “Contraband” Racist?


It’s been only recently that everyone seems to be caught up on the word “contraband” and all its various and sundry meanings. If you bother to look up the word in just about any standard dictionary, you’ll find that it basically means stolen goods of any kind. Its meaning leaves it open to include any kind of goods including human beings, but we all know that that was not the basis for the legend of Jean Lafitte.

The story goes that, many years ago, Lafitte and his band of pirates buried treasure somewhere along the bayou and, of course, the legends have survived to this day. It’s all about the romance of the high seas and buried treasure. Why is the word now being narrowed to mean only slave trade. Since when?

The controversy is raging again; this time over the naming of a street in town. A proposed roadway that will run to the north side of the Target shopping center and connect the Holly Hill roundabout on West Prien Lake Road with Nelson Road will have a new name: Contraband Parkway. It’s that name that is causing all the controversy. According to councilwoman Mary Morris:

“When I look up the word ‘contraband,’ it’s goods that have been imported or exported illegally, and that’s what contraband means. And then when I think about a culture of people as African Americans, we were the contraband at one time,”

Is there a scintilla of evidence that Contraband Days or even the local use of the term “contraband” has anything whatsoever to do with slavery? Yes, the word can be expanded to include humans, but we all know that it has only been in the past few years that the word “contraband” became taboo.

But, enough about that. We want to now what you think:

Is the word “Contraband” racist?

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