Reading too much into a name

To the editor,

Words make up everything we know in the world. They let us share our views, emotions and define an object. The 26 letters represent different sounds in order for us to properly convey the points we are trying to make. If all letters were only assigned to one word, who knows how many letters we would have? Just because the letter “F” is used in the f-word does not mean we cannot use the letter in any other words because people find the f-word offensive. The letter F can still be used in other words such as family, friend, fish, fly and there is no big news story on how the word friend needs to be taken out of the English language because it shares a letter that someone finds offensive.

All these letters can be used as someone’s initials as well. Just because someone has the initials of A.H., such as my sister, it does not mean they share the same views and beliefs as Adolf Hitler. For this same reason, you can apply this to my business name Kool Kid Kustoms.

As for my business, I started it when I was 18, so yes, I was a kid, and that is where that part of the name comes from. I have been in business now for 31⁄2 years and have been in the newspaper a few times and on 4 Corners TV, all with the name Kool Kid Kustoms. At my shop, I love restoring and customizing old cars. The word “kustom” comes from my text book from the Wyo-Tech street rod program. The definition is that “custom with a ‘K’ typically designates a post ’34 vehicle that has been modified in a nostalgic ’50s or early ’60s style.” The word came from customizer George Barris, who in the early ’50s began spelling other “C” words with a “K,” such as in my business name with the word “kool.”

Words and names can have multiple meanings, but the meanings should not be twisted to make them offensive. Being in the auto industry there are many names of parts that use the word “slave,” such as “slave cylinder” for a clutch, that are in no way meant to be racist. Now if someone alters something to mean something different to find offense in it, that to me is ignorant. To drive past someone’s business and pick out part of a name that can be flipped and twisted to convey something racist, I believe is the most racist part of the whole thing.

I am the only one who works at my business; I am the mechanic, painter, welder, owner and customer service rep. I have no intentions on changing the name on the side of my building. If you have never stopped in to meet me or see my work, there is no reason to throw labels and stereotypes at someone you have never met. After meeting me and getting feedback from my customers, you may have a different outlook on me and my business.

I believe that is what’s wrong with all the “racism” today. Everyone tries to change things to mean something they feel is racist. Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way saying there is no racism because there is, and that is something that needs to be fixed. It seems like, that no matter what you read in the newspaper or see on TV, there is something offensive to someone, whether it be a cup at a fast

food restaurant, a question on some second-grader’s test, a monument, a holiday, the list goes on. We need to stop making everyday things offensive and view them for what they are supposed to be and stop living in the past.

– Steven Hurst, Dolores
 

Editor’s note: Dear Mr. Hurst, thank you for clearing up the origins of your business name. We would like to point out that opinions expressed in the letter section are those of the writers and not representative of the views or personal beliefs of the Telegraph or its staff. That said, we obviously have a complete and utter lack of knowledge about custom – and kustom – car culture. Next time, we’ll do our homework. We are relieved to know your use of alliteration is purely unintentional and coincidental and are sorry for the inference.