Town Opts to Keep Old Logo Derided as Racist

Whitesboro won't be changing controversial seal
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2016 2:22 PM CST

The mayor of an upstate New York town who has said the town's seal—depicting what looks to be the town's white founder, Hugh White, strangling a Native American—was nothing more than "friendly wrestling" is likely pleased after residents voted Monday night to keep it, the Post-Standard reports. The "yeas" counted for 157 out of 212 votes cast, though the newspaper notes the vote was "informal," and the New York Daily News says it's "not legally binding" (the village board will meet Tuesday to decide where to go from here). In response to public outcry that the image is racist and offensive to Native Americans, Mayor Patrick O'Connor showed up to the vote with other logo possibilities, including one that showed White and the Oneida tribe member in a more cheerful interaction—clasping hands—against what the Daily News describes as "a tranquil landscape scene."

There were also, as WKTV notes, some more bizarre options, including a collage of ex-NHL goalie Bobby Esche, who lives in Whitesboro; a depiction that transformed White and the Native American into lucha libre-style wrestlers; and one in which the two men teamed up to beat on a British soldier. Many residents who spoke to WKTV after the vote—which the station notes was also attended by crew from The Daily Show and The Nightly Show—said it was wrong to try to change the town's history. "Political correctness, who cares?" one voter said, while another added, "The Indian and the white man wrestling ... both appreciated it, and enjoyed it. It was a good thing." But Elizabeth Brigham, who designed an alternate, more serene logo showing the Erie Canal, disagreed. "My generation is growing in a way where we are asking for more equality and peace," she said. "And unfortunately our original logo doesn't always depict that to people who don't live here." (More New York stories.)

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