The central New York State village of Whitesboro will finally get rid of the “racist” town seal that appears to show a white man choking a Native American.
On Friday, the mayor of Whitesboro and the Oneida Indian Nation announced the two will meet to discuss creating a new village seal, following the airing of a segment on The Daily Show that poked fun at the racist logo.
Earlier this month, residents of Whitesboro voted in favour of keeping the crest 157-55 after receiving backlash over “racist and offensive” logo.
“In speaking with a lot of the residents that voted to keep the seal, I think they were surprised at the negative attention that Whitesboro was receiving as a result of the vote,” Whitesboro Mayor Patrick O’Connor said in a statement. “They wanted to preserve history at the time of the vote, but also want to ensure that Village is seen as the inclusive place that it is. This is an exciting opportunity for our community to create its own piece of history that they can be proud of for the next 100 plus years to come.”
Whitesboro’s website says the emblem dates to the early 1900s and depicts a friendly wrestling match between village founder Hugh White and an Oneida Indian. It says White won the match and the lasting respect and goodwill of the Oneidas.
The seal appears on village trucks, police cars, signs and documents. Controversy has waxed and waned over the years but came to a head last summer when an online petition was posted by someone from out of town who saw the logo and took offence.
“As we’ve always said, we are happy to work with anyone who wants to make sure the symbols they are promoting are honoring and respecting all people,” said Oneida Nation CEO Ray Halbritter in a statement. We applaud the Village leaders’ willingness to evaluate their own symbols and how to make sure they accurately reflect their community’s core values.”
The announcement comes the day after The Daily Show aired a segment the program recorded of the initial vote, poking fun of the racist logo.
During the vote, local resident Sally Creaser said she was taken aback when she arrived at the village hall to cast her vote, thinking it was just a yes-or-no vote on whether to keep the seal or seek an alternative that would be designed after further discussion.
“I thought a lot of the choices looked like a big joke,” she told the Associated Press in a phone interview last week. “Then I realized The Daily Show was there.”
–with files from The Associated Press