- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

Seven members of the Montgomery County, Md. Board of Education have decided that Indian is a bad word at Poolesville High School.
Richard Regan, the most incredibly sensitive Lumbee Indian in Maryland, is around to lead the cheers and express the proper amount of hurt.
The athletic teams at Poolesville are Indians, too, although not for long and not in the genuine sense.
The Poolesville Indians do not build casinos, hold bingo games or stage the occasional rain dance. They do, however, whoop and holler after hard-fought victories. The latter is insensitive to both the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs and the athletically vanquished.
As supporters of the make-believe Indians, the good folks of Poolesville voted in May to retain the nickname after taking a few hits off the commission's peace pipe. They might have added a few trinkets in the deal if they thought a few trinkets would make the incredibly sensitive go away. Trinkets might have worked with Manhattan, but the venue and the times are different. You have to adjust for inflation and Montgomery County.
Mr. Regan is hurting in an Oprahish way, having a good cry in public, long after the land grab was completed and the geometrically impaired carved the state into what it is.
The losers don't write history. They just whine about it.
A challenge by Poolesville to Indian-wrestle Mr. Regan, in a winner-take-all match, probably would not have been in the proper spirit.
The I-word is an improbable rallying point, starting with the Maryland Commission on I-word Affairs, as guilty as Poolesville.
As far as school nicknames go, the I-word mostly reflects a lack of imagination. In a nod to geography, Poolesville could adopt the nickname "Whiteys" after nearby Whites Ferry. Then again, that might offend a couple of whiteys.
The rush to be sensitive is contagious, an industry all its own, no matter how absurd the material. Taking offense is justification enough, and endless. If you insist, Scaggsville, Md., indicts the aesthetic quality of all the women of Scaggsville.
Powhatan Beach, Md., is not too nice, either.
One mindless reaction apparently deserves another. You can tell by the cleaned-up football helmets at Sherwood High School, home of the Warriors, the nickname inspired after a Robin Hoodlike archer.
Although it is hard to find the connection between Geena Davis and the I-word commission, the Warriors have removed the arrows and lances from their logo. It apparently is the thought that counts, no matter how strained the thought is.
At least Mr. Regan has a friend in Jerry Weast, the superintendent of public schools in the county. It is his aim to expunge the I-word and all its offspring from his domain, and so the residents of Poolesville have been ordered to get in the roll-over position.
Their votes and taxes do not count.
It seems the incredibly insensitive are only sensitive to a point. Their job is tough enough. They are required to roll out of bed each morning with a tear in the eye and a list of newfangled definitions in hand. Their work, alas, is never done, their tear ducts always on call.
As Mr. Regan points out, 12 other jurisdictions require his ultra-sensitive inspection. He is on the warpath, as warpath is defined in the squishy new millennium.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening told the commission to count to 10 earlier this month after the commission called a boycott against the business sponsors of the Germantown Athletic Club. Otherwise, he has stayed out of the commission's business, secure in the knowledge that the Super Bowl champion celebrates Edgar Allan Poe's bird.
He can't say the same for the state's other NFL resident, the Washington Schottenheimers.
All this local silliness would be easy to dismiss as amusing if it were not a waste of time and money and symptomatic of the national trend to homogenize the thoughts and words of the masses.
The estimated cost to change the nickname at Poolesville: $80,000.
Seven county board members figure it is a bargain.
To them, Indian is a very bad word.


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