Community “Formerly Known as Stapleton” to Lose Name Completely

stapleton-symbolIn an effort to satisfy conflicting sides, Forest City, SUN, and the City and County of Denver have officially decided to remove the name “Stapleton” as a landmark for the community and not replace the name at all. “We didn’t want to continue to be called racists unnecessarily,” said Forest City communications director Janelle Ayers. “So, we worked with the other authorities to remove the name altogether. It’s going to take some time, and there is going to be some pains with it, financial and otherwise, but, if that’s what it takes to make people happy, I guess that’s what we will do.” Although a high percentage of people either did not want the name changed or did not have feelings about the name change either way, that group was simply sick of hearing about it. “I didn’t think the name or the community in any way exude hate,” said one resident who refused to be identified in fear he would immediately be called a racist. “I just think it’s a lot of energy put into something that ultimately won’t make much of a difference.” Another resident also refused to be named due to the same fears, but had a similar opinion. “People are refusing to look at the entire context and the historical facts,” said the resident. “And as soon as someone tries to point them out, they are labeled a racist. Which is a pretty awful thing to call someone. So, we quietly talk to each other about it, but could never try to have a civil discussion about it publicly. I mean, I don’t want to see my name in the paper with the word ‘racist’ anywhere near it.”

The silent majority did have a request in regards to the name change, however. “A group of us did get together and requested no name be placed on the community at all,” said another community member asking to not be identified. “The fear from many of us is that we will rename it, get comfortable with the name, and then in ten years, that name will be associated with hate or something awful. So, why give it a new name at all? There is a small committee looking at different options to make sure that in no way, now or ever, the symbol could be confused with hate.” Forest City believes the economic impact will be big in regards to marketing efforts and with local businesses. “Businesses will now have to say Northeast Denver, or show the symbol,” said Ayers. “For us, we will have to completely change signage, how we speak to people about the neighborhood. And then, of course, there will be the challenge of completely erasing the history of the area. We are going to try to make it seem as if there was never an airport here and never a guy named Ben Stapleton. Erasing history can be tricky.” Although the committee looking to rename or re-symbol Stapleton has some concepts in the works, residents are encouraged to submit symbol ideas to the committee for consideration. Remember, any symbol submitted must have no chance of offending anyone.

Editor’s Note:  For more information on the name change movement, go to Rename Stapleton for All.  To learn more about Ben Stapleton, go to this Front Porch Article.  Community members are invited to give feedback on the naming issue at a moderated event on December 11th at the Cube.  For more details, go to the Front Porch.

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8 responses to “Community “Formerly Known as Stapleton” to Lose Name Completely”

  1. Genevieve Swift

    Thank you, Stapletonion, for getting right to the heart of this matter. Fear. Like most people in the world, we all do our best and view ourselves as good people. You don’t have to be a bad person (or a tiki-torch carrying white supremacist) to be a part of the problem of systemic racism in our country. As white people (I am a white woman who grew up in a white, affluent community), we don’t see racism because we don’t experience it. Our world is a white world. It’s made for white people. Cultural racism tells us that anyone or anything (food, goods, etc.) that isn’t white, is less than. Try not to take it personally. It’s systemic. It’s the society we live in. Stapleton is largely made up of white, upperclass people; many who consider themselves to be very liberal and open-minded. We are no more racist than most Americans; however, we have more privilege than most and we benefit from that privilege. Think about that. When it comes to racism…. it’s too scary to talk about. Like you said in your article, being called a racist is “pretty awful” and feels really bad and can be mortifying. So… what does a good person do? Not talk about it? I think we are better than that.

    Secondly, you make the point that most people don’t think that this is an important issue. Apathy is an oppressor’s best enabler. This is why the name is such a great trigger for conversation. That’s why this issue is important. We appreciate that the SUN Board is finally taking this seriously. They are working on an annual day of reflection about the history of this land. Rename St*pleton for All is having an Educational Forum in March about Symbolic Violence and Cultural Racism. This awakening is happening all over the country. There are courageous conversations happening all over Denver. You don’t have to talk, you’re not going to be called a racist (I’m at least 80% sure of that); just show up and listen.

    If you are afraid or apathetic… if you are a good person (which I know you are), please give us chance. Check out our facebook page: @ChangeTheNameStapleton or our website: to learn about upcoming events and other related events in the area, read our FAQs, check out our goals and our vision. It’s about awareness. It’s about caring. It’s about being a good neighbor. Thank you for your consideration.

  2. Dr. Gregory Diggs

    Another tone-deaf article, similar to the tone of the Ink! Coffee issue. Where white people who are ignorant and insensitive to the array of issues continue to whine and cry when community citizens point out the issues and impacts of white privilege and racism.

    Isn’t it interesting that writers and politicians are quick to defend phantom, unidentified “citizens”…who are afraid of speaking on the record for fear of being labeled racists. Uh, Really? That’s the emphasis? I’m sure those people actually exist. But how do they represent the community here? How do you know? Are there more of them than those who are concerned about the name? Seems like a “strawman” argument from the Onion and SUN. I guess it is very important that we don’t lose the voices of those who are afraid of being “called” racists (often with some accuracy), than those who are speaking up for the change.

    And let’s be clear: Most of the people who are speaking for the change, happen to be white.

    Finally, It is interesting that this is a community issue at all. An inconvenient fact is that Forest City promised to use the name only as a “locator” and not to emphasize it’s use. Just as Forest City won the contract for development, partially by promising a “New Urbanism” that featured demographic diversity and a significant amount of affordable housing. It is 15 years later and those commitments have not been fulfilled. “Stapleton” was everywhere…prominently featured. The community is 83% white…a low estimate because it includes 3 different incarcerated populations. And the “affordable” housing thing is a joke.

    Point being, that all some of us are demanding is that Forest City keep the promises that it made long ago.

    The Onion can miss us with these Crocodile, White Onion Tears. Hmmm. I wonder how many people of color the Onion has on their staff? oooops. no I don’t. I’m just kidding.

  3. Erin Parkins

    Thank you Stapletonion, for being super clear about who your target audience is for this “publication”: apathetic, disengaged, white people who somehow find humor in social and racial injustice. Your articles are predictably lackluster and lazy, but this one is an extra special brand of garbage. It’s disappointing that you think wanting a community name that can never be confused with hate is worthy of satire. But hey, this is the same publication that thought it was funny to satirize sexual assault and the #metoo movement, and consistently confuses its readers by posting satire, opinion, and actual news without any tagging to know which is which, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Go away Stapletonion. You’re not funny or informative or engaging, and this piece is just another example as such.

  4. Gregory Diggs

    White, male Privilege…

    It’s a helluva drug

  5. Stapleton's name change debate is about the nature of community, and that's why it's so divisive - Denverite

    […] Stapletonion, a satirical neighborhood publication, recently published a piece in which the community is left entirely nameless, lest any new name later become associated with hate. The name change movement is a frequent target […]

  6. Gregory Diggs

    Ah. Tone Deaf Still.

    The young white guy, who has no clue about white supremacy, white privilege and racism, hides behind some sort of entitlement to jokes and satire.

    I submit “Staff Writer” (is it Gabe?”) as part of the brand of white, privileged racists…yes I said racists…that are part of our current American problem. And please note…one does not have to be a nazi, skinhead or KKK member to be racist…one of our current problems is our “nice” white racists…with jokes and satire.

    This publication needs to have some seats. Don’t even get me started on how this MF thinks that the #MeToo effort is fodder for joke bait as well. This Trumptonion nonsense is not hardly funny.

    Oh…my bad. It is clearly funny to “certain” people.

  7. Former Staff Writer

    So a satirical publication cant call into question a movement about changing the name of Stapleton and if they do, they must be racists? The Stapletonion is hilarious. I have even written a few articles for them.

    I almost supported your movement but after seeing the leaders of the Rename movement and their comments (here and other forums), I am changing my mind. In fact, I should start a business and have Stapleton in the name just to upset Genevieve and Greg. Be pissed off at the world, the white privilege, the current political climate, whatever you want. And I hope your movement goes down in flames. Move out of Stapleton if you hate the name so much. It is clear you won’t but we can all hope. I am just tired of your constant, negative babbling about the topic.

  8. Former Staff Writer

    I guess I now have a topic for my next Stapletonion article. Maybe a parody of the Driving Miss Daisy movie starring Genevieve and Greg or is that too much? Maybe switch the roles around so Greg gets to experience white privelege and he gets driven around by Genevieve? The possibilities are endless.

    If you would like to star in this let me know.

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