I saw the above city seal and laughed at first. A white man is choking a Native American. The white man (His name is Hugh White) founded the city known today as Whitesboro; the Native American is named Oneida (I should note; in my old neighborhood in Washington D.C., there is an Oneida Street; go figure). The only reason I saw this seal is because the Village of Whitesboro just held a vote on whether to change the seal.
After laughing, I thought about what the seal really means. The seal is honest. The seal is history. We all know that is what happened here. European settlers arrived and strong armed the land by force. Those who were here were slaughtered and run off. This is rarely taught in schools. They surely didn’t teach my generation this (my parents and other elders did). My children have learned the real story because somehow all three attended grade schools that presented more of the truth.
But the seal also made me think of my hometown NFL football team (the Washington Redskins) and their current logo. There is a ideological battle right now over their logo. The logo is a racial slur yet the team was founded at a time where this was accepted and now the logo is culturally entrenched. Some of the most rabid fans of the team are African-Americans, who insist the name is about bravery and is a tribute to Native Americans. I say, if you feel that way, rename them the Washington Niggers and put a noble black face on the helmet like Jesse Owens or Paul Robeson and see how you feel. It is a silly, ridiculous argument to stand behind a racial slur.
But put the Redskins’ helmet in better context. The seal of the Village of Whitesboro is a more appropriate logo for the Washington team. We all know the name of the team is about scalping Native Americans (it is not a tribute). So why not just express the truth on the helmet? Why not state it plain as it is and how it happened? It is, as I noted with a post, the back story. This is the name in and of itself.
I did a little reading on the city of Whitesboro. It is located in Western New York. It is 98 percent white. It is .53 percent black. I figured that those few persons (black) must be passing or must work for the whites as servants. I also read that Al Jazeera reported that the logo on the seal was different. The white man used to be depicted on the seal with his hands around the throat of Oneida. The new logo is similar but Oneida does have his own hands extended a bit. This version came into being after Native American groups complained.
Nevertheless, the vote was held last night and overwhelmingly the citizens of Whitesboro voted to maintain their seal (who were all of those whites going to offend for God sakes?) Perhaps they will go party hard with Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, who has vowed many times to never to remove his slur (from his team’s helmet) either.