Not using the name as per the article below.
Would love to hear everyones thoughts on this.
Not using the name as per the article below.
Would love to hear everyones thoughts on this.
I thin EN has gone around the bend on the issue of racism/equality/social justice as, TBH, the Chronicle has as well. We seem to be a country that is looking to tie anything to racism and we have people looking to find their issue and it is more so they can say “look at me” rather than actually do something about the issue. Not using the name “Plantation Field” doesn’t do anything. I don’t know how EN approached Plantation Field about the issue but apparently from the Event’s reaction I would guess they did it in an obnoxious manner.
Quite frankly, seeing COTH, EN and others in the riding world getting up in arms seems laughable to me. Equestrian sports in the United States is the most minor of minor sports in the country. It doesn’t really matter who participates because its not going to change anything with regards to real racial discrimination issues.
Good for EN for trying to show some leadership. We have so many symbols and nods to systemic racism in society that it is easy to unthinkingly feel like they are neutral and acceptable, when they are anything but. Sometimes we need a quick shake to take a moment and think about what continuing to perpetuate these choices signals to a broader audience than the majority demographic that comprises our sport.
Correcting our missteps on some of the more superficial elements of systemic racism are baby steps toward facing and correcting the more substantive problems. This event has the opportunity to listen and take a thoughtful and classy step forward here without a big to do. I hope they take it. I understand that they’re likely feeling defensive at this point, but perhaps the PTB there can take a moment to reflect on this from a broader set of perspectives, and consider what kind of signal they’d like to send to the world. Is this decision something they’re going to feel good about in six months? Six years? What values do they feel they are upholding by keeping the existing name? What do they feel like they would be compromising by changing it?
I was confused by all of marketing/announcements coming out of USEF for the Futures Team Challenge being at “Unionville”. I definitely had the thought “Wait are they just running around on somebody’s random farm for a weekend? weird!”
Now I understand Unionville=Plantation…so it would appear that the USEF marketing department/social media team is in agreement with EN on the name and made a conscious choice not to use it either.
Maybe because I am local. Maybe because this property was never a property supported by slavery, maybe because I am a white woman from the north and am insulated from as much racial terminology as found in the south but I think changing Plantation Fields name is pushing it. Especially since EN only brought it up in June. This is a well know long running event. I would think that much of the marketing material and printed material has been purchased and printed. Do you think FEI is going to be reasonable about changing a name that quickly? (Not like FEI is reasonable about anything) Even if PF wanted to make a change doing it in less than 4 months is a bit unreasonable.
EN comparing the name to Washington Redskins is pushing it. The name Redskins has been under fire for years. The Redskins owner has been pushing back for many years against a name change. Washington Football team has a much larger financial budget than Plantation Fields. Arguably Redskins is MUCH more offensive and has been acknowledged as problematic for many years yet Washington’s football owner dug in for many years.
The references to Dixie, Plantation, Antebellum are a little more nebulous. In some cases the are glorifying a culture that is dependent on slavery. In other cases it is not as clear cut.
It is my understanding that the event does not own the property. We are losing many venues for eventing. EN should be well aware of these issues. Do we want to risk pushing out a well run series of events due to semantics that don’t even apply to this property? We don’t know the naming convention that was agreed upon by the property owners and the events that are run there.
Based on the definition below and the article Plantation Fields was named after “an area in which trees have been planted, especially for commercial purposes”. I think that definition 1 might be white washing it a bit. But definition 2 is exactly why this venue was named the way it was. It isn’t like there is a consensus that Plantation is an offense term. EN seemed to decided it was offensive and gave the property owners and event organizers limited time to response to them.
I think the whole thing is ridiculous.
I think the point about the name was not about this particular farm or the definition, but more about how it can make some people feel, in the time of trying to be inclusive.
What I am curious about is why EN will protest the name, but will they protest the riders who attend the event? Not likely. You can’t pick and choose. If they don’t support the event, they should equally blast the riders who attend if this is their stance. They won’t though. That in itself makes this protest pretty much for naught.
I for one will be saddened if this is the end of one of the best events in the US.
The Event has lost its lease on the field as a result of this.
For Immediate Release: Plantation Field Equestrian Events, Inc. (PFEE), a Non-Profit 501 ©(3) Corporation, Loses Property Lease
September 16, 2020 – Unionville, PA – We are sad to announce today that Cuyler Walker, a PFEE Board member and landowner of Plantation Field, has with great regret cancelled our lease for the property on which the Plantation Field International Three-Day Event is held. This is directly due to the attack on the name “Plantation” by Eventing Nation, an equestrian online news journal.
EN and their editors approached the equestrian media and the United States Eventing Association in June, 2020 to state that they felt the name “Plantation” was insensitive to people of color.
Let me explain the history of this property: in the 1930’s Plunket Stewart, who had purchased land in the early twentieth century, allowed the Boy Scouts to use a section of the property to plant hedges and trees. The dictionary defines the word “Plantation” as “an area in which trees have been planted”. Colonial Pennsylvania considered properties less than 100 acres a farm and properties with more than 100 acres a plantation. There is no reference to race in this definition.
The Unionville area is historically a Quaker community. The Quakers were one of the earliest abolitionist groups and fought against slavery. This area was also part of the underground railroad.
On a personal level, PFEE and the Unionville community have long supported Work to Ride, an organization in Philadelphia created with dedication by Lezlie Hiner, that gives disadvantaged, often minority, youth an opportunity to ride. This program has had impressive results with Kareem Rosser, who is an outstanding polo player, and who has taken lessons from PFEE Board member and Olympians Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton.
The editors of Eventing Nation have aggressively led the campaign against the name Plantation Field. Consequently the USEA and USEF have since notified PFEE that they would not use the word “Plantation” in any media or articles. Plantation Field Equestrian Events, Inc. is the legal name of the Corporation and we will not accept censoring of our First Amendment rights.
I want it clearly stated that as a member of the USEA since 1960 and as a longtime resident of Unionville, I find it incredibly sad that the staff at a publication who do not understand the history of the area are directly causing the end of one of the best and most consistent events in the country.
A major factor in Cuyler’s decision was his feeling that he and his family were being called racist. He will not have his grandparents’ generous support of the Boy Scouts vilified by Eventing Nation and the USEA.
Having spent sixty years supporting the sport of Eventing in every capacity, I am extremely disappointed in the lack of leadership at the National level in dealing with this situation. This event welcomes riders from Elementary to the 4* level at multiple competitions at the local, National and International level each year. It is also local to numerous professional riders including several Olympians. The loss of Plantation Field will be a huge loss to the entire equestrian community.
President, Plantation Field Equestrian Events, Inc.
About Plantation Field
Plantation Field International Horse Trials is a unique destination for equestrian sport. Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania hunt and steeplechase country, our rolling hills contain a rich history of equestrian activity. Find out more at our website and get involved today with the Plantation Field International CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S held September 16-20, 2020.
Bingo! And everyone lost…
Where did you see this?
Devastating…for the US riders but also Canadians too who love this event for many reasons but it is also close enough for us to travel to.
What a shame that they chose this proverbial hill to die on. There was an opportunity here, and it was missed. Trying to paint this as a First Amendment issue that EN is soldiering against is willfully missing the point. Again: what a shame.
Wow, they lost their lease. I didn’t realize the USEA was on board too.
@Jealoushe I received the press release in an email. It’s so new, I don’t think it’s made it up to the website or FB.
Thanks. The 4* will still run this weekend. Maybe they will have a change of heart. How awful for everyone.
I hope this can be worked out. What a blow to area 2 eventing.
Wow. What an overreaction by everyone involved. I really hope the landowner reconsiders.
I applaud EN. Every little bit helps. Just because racism doesn’t affect one personally, I believe we should be conscious of how names affect others. For so many, it is water torture.
This is an interesting quote from the USEA A-Z article on the event (https://useventing.com/news-media/news/usea-events-a-z-plantation-field-horse-trials):
“The field was known as Logan’s Field and it also had a woods known as Plantation Woods. So, we changed our name to Plantation Field Equestrian Events, Inc. (PFEE).“ So they chose a name that incorporated both for the event. Too bad they didn’t choose Logan’s Woods instead.
Was it him ? It reads like Dennis lost the lease, so could a group that will call it something else GET the lease ?