Groups Sue to Change Name of 'Jap Road'
Wed Dec 3,10:24 AM ET Add Oddly Enough - Reuters to My Yahoo!

DALLAS (Reuters) - Several civil rights groups have filed a discrimination complaint trying to get a small community in southeast Texas to remove a racial slur from its city maps by changing the name of its "Jap Road."

The Anti-Defamation League, Japanese American Citizens League and others filed a discrimination complaint Tuesday on behalf of two Japanese-Americans with two U.S. government agencies asking for them to suspend paying federal tax dollars to Jefferson County in Texas until the county renames Jap Road.

The three-mile stretch of road in Fannett, near Beaumont, has been around for about 100 years. It was named to honor a Japanese family who moved to the area and helped introduce the region to rice farming.

Over the years, the name has remained the same but the meaning of "Jap" has changed to become a racial slur.

"By continuing to have the street named 'Jap Road', Jefferson County gives residents and visitors to the area the impression that the county condones racial bias and discrimination against Japanese people," the groups said in a statement.

The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (news - web sites).

A similar effort to change the name of the road 10 years ago was met by stiff resistance among local residents, and even some of the descendants of the original Japanese settlers.