P.G. or Prince George’s: A Debate Over What To Call A County

A water tower in Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, Md.

Professional basketball star Kevin Durant recently paid tribute to his D.C. area roots, when he and Nike announced the release of sneakers named, “KD8 PG County.” The sneakers sold out quickly at local stores- but some in Prince George’s County, where Durant grew up, are unhappy about their name. They say the abbreviation “P.G.” is pejorative and evokes negative images of the county. Kojo explores the debate over “P.G.” versus “Prince George’s”.

Guests

  • DJ Heat Local DJ; Former On-Air Personality at 95.5 FM WPGC
  • David Harrington President and CEO, Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce; Former Member, Prince George’s County Council; Former Mayor, Bladensburg, Maryland
  • Arelis Hernández Reporter, The Washington Post

I’m 28 years old, grew-up in Prince George’s County, returned to the County after completing college/graduate school, and now work for a an organization in the County.

I was trained to say Prince George’s County. During my middle/high school after-school workshops with Institute GADAAY (sponsored by the Prince George’s County AKAs), at church and even in school we were indoctrinated to refer to the County as Prince George’s not PG.

In my household, my parents discussed how the term “PG” had been used as a code word. I was amazed at how two letters contained the history, fears, hopes, frustrations, successes of a County that transformed from a predominately white and rural community, to a wealthy black enclave.

When I went away to college, everyone called “Prince George’s County” “PG County”.Students from throughout the east coast knew what “PG County” meant and that was wealthy African Americans.
In some cases, PG County would be used as the ultimate pickup line ” are you from Pretty Girl County?”

Today, conversation I only use Prince George’s in conversation or in formal writing. On Twitter/Facebook/Instagram I use PGC. Prince George’s County just takes up too many precious characters.

It will be also interesting to hear how the discussion on the term P.G. or Prince George’s parallels to the use of the N-word.

Listen to the show at 12:32 today – http://wamu.org/?_ga=1.264902607.1157405029.1449502052

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