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   xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jan 12 12:01 AM

Jan 12th, 2016: Whitesboro Seal... again

Whitesboro, NY, is in the news again with their town seal. Amusing Planet says...

Quote:
The seal was originally designed in 1883 and showed the Indian closer to the ground, and with White’s hands actually on the Native American’s neck. When Whitesboro was sued over the seal by a Native American group in the 1970s, the village changed the image moving the founder’s hands from the Native American’s neck to his shoulders.


The mayor responds...
Quote:
Although Whitesboro has agreed to vote on it, village officials maintain that the seal is not racist, derogatory or violent, but a very accurate depiction of an important event in the village’s history that helped build relations between White and the area’s Native American population. According to the village’s website, White accepted the challenge of a friendly duel, and “by a fortunate trip” succeeded in throwing the chief to the ground almost instantly. “After the fight, Hugh White became a hero in the eyes of the Oneida Indians,” the website read.
With the flames fanned by websites like this one, where self described...
Quote:
Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor.
wrote the following...
Quote:
Currently, the seal depicts two men in a struggle: A white man with his hands seemingly on the shoulders and neck of a stereotypical feather-in-hair Native American, with the Native American being toppled to the ground, apparently shouting in pain.
Damn, with that imagination, that boy should be a writer. Oh wait, he is.

Then someone starts an online petition ...
Quote:
I am Lenape Indian and a citizen of both the Delaware Tribe of Indians and Cherokee Nation. I want to express my disgust and disappointment in this image displayed on city police cars and letterhead. Many local nations, like the Oneida, Mohawks, Lenape, Shinnecock, Mahicans, and Onondaga, agree that the logo is very much disrespectful to Native Americans.
...yielding 9600 signatures, one of which commented...
Quote:
A story about Hugh white beating a Native American in a wrestling match is just as offensive and racist as a seal depicting a strangling and or beating.
Uh Ramon, the wrestling match was the Indian’s custom, Mr White was going along to get along. The scenarios people conjure up are crazy.

Quote:
Oneida Nation Council Turtle Clan representative Clint Hill, however, said the description of the seal’s portrayal did not seem patently offensive, although he had not seen it in person. The Oneidas typically had good relationships with area settlers, he said, and “Indian wrestling,” in which opponents place their feet together and use only one arm to try to throw the other person, is a common game among friends. “With the so-called Indian wrestling, you just knocked the person off balance,” he said. “We used to do it all the time as kids.”
If anything, Hill said, he would want the image changed to more accurately portray the wrestling style and to show the proper headdress for the Indian in the image. An Oneida would wear one with two feathers pointing up and one pointing down, he said.
Hmm, must have been described in great detail.
Of the 10 or so designs the residents can vote on, these four were submitted by The Daily Show.



Plus the current one makes five, I haven't seen any more.
The polls closed at 9PM Monday night but I haven’t seen any results yet.


xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jan 12 09:11 AM

The results are in. The towns 3735 residents have replied to the critics. Of the 212 votes cast, 157 voted to retain the current seal.



DanaC  Tuesday Jan 12 02:26 PM

I think, given the wider historical context,it is an unfortunate image. With the story, it makes sense and does not seem founded on any racism. Without the story, it is very easily misconstrued.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jan 12 03:31 PM

People would rather misconstrue than bother to find out the story.



glatt  Tuesday Jan 12 03:37 PM

The ironic thing is that in this case it's the liberals doing it. Just in the last week or two there was a lot lot of conservative bashing by liberals because the Washingtonpost online fact checker closed up shop because conservatives don't care when their guys lie. They simply don't care. This time, it's the liberals who don't care.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jan 12 03:55 PM

And the clickbaiters will jump on any wagon of indignation passing by. That's why a small town seal, which very few people ever see, stirs up a fuss worldwide. Suddenly "public opinion" is measured by reaction of a public it doesn't concern.



Clodfobble  Wednesday Jan 13 09:42 AM

I suspect that the satirical murals from the set of "Parks and Rec" may have brought more attention to crappy small-town art than it previously had.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jan 13 11:33 AM

And the kerfuffle over the Confederate battle flag has sent do-gooders and clickbaiters scouring the country for politically incorrect symbolism.



DanaC  Wednesday Jan 13 12:25 PM

I daresay the Redskins haven't helped matters much.

I totally get why the town wants to keep their symbol. They're steepedin their town history and that symbol, with the story is innocuous. Unfortunately, the town exists in a country in which lots of other historic symbols, statues and mascots, and indeed place names carry rather more negative connotations. I can understand how someone might see that symbol and assume it is one of the latter. I can also understand that they may jump to conclusions because of it, given that they are not steeped in the town's history and they live in a country in which the cultural identity of the indigenous peoples has, over two centuries, been appropriated wholesale by the descendants of the people who all but annihilated them.

It's bound to be a touchy subject.



glatt  Wednesday Jan 13 12:49 PM

I wonder what the budget is for a small town of 3,735 to be spending money on designing a new seal, and replacing every last thing in town that bears the seal, just to satisfy a bunch of strangers on the internet who don't know a thing about their town and can't be bothered to learn the story behind their seal?



DanaC  Wednesday Jan 13 02:03 PM

Yeah, that's not an incidental sum, I'm guessing. .

They shouldn't change it. No more than they should change their rather unfortunate sounding name, which commemorates White, not designates white. But we shouldn't be surprised by the perennial, internet-fuelled outrage.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jan 13 03:58 PM

The Whitesboro name, in combination with the seal, add fuel to the Imaginations of people looking to be offended. You know 3foot lives in the same state, on the same latitude, not far from Whitesboro. Coincidence?



DanaC  Wednesday Jan 13 04:47 PM

I think 'looking to be offended' is fair for some, but not for others. 'Already offended by a big bucket of offensive shit over a fairly long period of time and therefore primed to see something that looks similar at a surface level to that stuff as the same', might account for some of them.

Time was it'd be something you might mention to your friends - shit, man there's a town with a white settler throttling a native american in full headdress as their symbol and they called themselves Whitesboro. Now it all goes online. Instantly.



Happy Monkey  Wednesday Jan 13 05:33 PM

The thing is, if you need to have an explanation for why a logo isn't racist, it's a bad logo.

You might think that two bolts of lightning is a good logo for a power company, but if it looks like the SS logo, don't do it.

And the art doesn't do them any favors. The newer logo looks more like a throttling than the older one.



glatt  Wednesday Jan 13 05:47 PM

I agree it's a bad logo, but if you are a citizen of that little village and you have potholes all over town because you live in the rustbelt, are you going to vote to spend money fixing a stupid logo just to satisfy a bunch of strangers on the Internet? There are real problems to deal with in small villages. Logos aren't one of them.

If I was mayor, I would start an online fund for donations to change the logo. Those strangers can put up or shut up. Once enough money is raised, I'd use it to hire artists to submit a bunch of logo ideas and then let the town council vote on them. But I wouldn't spend a penny from the town's own coffers.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jan 13 09:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Monkey View Post
The thing is, if you need to have an explanation for why a logo isn't racist, it's a bad logo.
I don't buy that, I'd hate to see every symbol/logo homogenized so much nobody could be offended. The sheriff can't use a six pointed star because the Jews had to wear them in Europe. Certainly no snakes could be used. No people unless they represented all colors, ages, plus if they have two legs they snub amputees. No trees unless deciduous and conifers get equal billing. The NFL can't use a football because it offends soccer fans. Where does it end? Maybe commercial interests have to worry about negative reaction from potential customers, but utilities and government agencies, not so much.


infinite monkey  Wednesday Jan 13 10:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
I don't buy that, I'd hate to see every symbol/logo homogenized so much nobody could be offended. The sheriff can't use a six pointed star because the Jews had to wear them in Europe. Certainly no snakes could be used. No people unless they represented all colors, ages, plus if they have two legs they snub amputees. No trees unless deciduous and conifers get equal billing. The NFL can't use a football because it offends soccer fans. Where does it end? Maybe commercial interests have to worry about negative reaction from potential customers, but utilities and government agencies, not so much.
Agree. People must get so tired of being offended, given all the being offended that's going on.


Happy Monkey  Wednesday Jan 13 10:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
I don't buy that, I'd hate to see every symbol/logo homogenized so much nobody could be offended. The sheriff can't use a six pointed star because the Jews had to wear them in Europe. Certainly no snakes could be used. No people unless they represented all colors, ages, plus if they have two legs they snub amputees. No trees unless deciduous and conifers get equal billing. The NFL can't use a football because it offends soccer fans. Where does it end? Maybe commercial interests have to worry about negative reaction from potential customers, but utilities and government agencies, not so much.
You don't have to explain any of those to show how they aren't racist.

An image of a white man throttling a Native American has to be explained.


xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jan 13 10:48 PM

Then you don't have to explain lightning bolts on an electrical company truck.
I see a lot of them on electrical contractors vans, and in warning signs on lift trucks.



Happy Monkey  Wednesday Jan 13 10:52 PM

You do if they look like the SS symbol.



BigV  Wednesday Jan 13 11:18 PM

so... following your analogy, where's the preexisting symbol of a white man choking a red man, causing this symbol to be associated with .... ??? oppression? atrocities? unchecked state sponsored racism?



infinite monkey  Wednesday Jan 13 11:27 PM

Right there, all the symbols we need are right there in your post. As a red man, I'm sooo offended. Hmmph.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jan 13 11:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Monkey View Post
You do if they look like the SS symbol.
I haven't seen any that look like SS symbols, but doubt I'd make the connection. But I'm not particularly offended by swastikas either, because I know its history, and if I see it in the news I know it's some asshole pushing buttons... I refuse to let them push mine.


Happy Monkey  Thursday Jan 14 10:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
so... following your analogy, where's the preexisting symbol of a white man choking a red man, causing this symbol to be associated with .... ??? oppression? atrocities? unchecked state sponsored racism?
I don't understand the question. A white man choking a red man is that symbol, unless given an alternate explanation. The preexisting image is US history. That should be self-evident.

You need extra backstory to explain that the image isn't actually a white man choking a red man.


Happy Monkey  Thursday Jan 14 10:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
I haven't seen any that look like SS symbols, but doubt I'd make the connection. But I'm not particularly offended by swastikas either, because I know its history, and if I see it in the news I know it's some asshole pushing buttons... I refuse to let them push mine.
You don't have to be personally offended by swastikas to know that an image of Hitler saluting would be a terrible city logo, even if the town was the filming location for The Great Dictator, and if you know the backstory, it's actually Chaplin.


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jan 14 11:51 AM

Knowing the backstory, would you be offended? If not, then in saying it would be a terrible city logo you're censoring it based on your opinion of whether others might be offended. In that case we're back to six pointed stars, snakes and trees.



Happy Monkey  Thursday Jan 14 01:58 PM

How are we back to that? You still don't have to have a backstory to explain how they aren't racist.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jan 14 03:43 PM

Choosing things that shouldn't be used because they might offend someone, as opposed to saying it's a bad logo because it offends you.



DanaC  Thursday Jan 14 03:49 PM

A logo is supposed to communicate something. If the logo draws on a commonly understood visual lexicon that conveys a contrary message from that which is intended, unless the viewer purposely seeks out footnote explanations then it fails in its purpose as a logo.



Undertoad  Thursday Jan 14 04:12 PM

That's true, and yet how complicated is it - this one has communicated more to us via the thread than any other seal ever. It provoked us to investigate further and forced us to confront our simple notions. If it was art, we would say that is successful.



DanaC  Thursday Jan 14 04:20 PM

True enough.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jan 14 04:35 PM

Who is it supposed to convey a message to, a citizen of Whitesboro and vicinity, or some internet surfer who will never see it in person? I think it was designed for local consumption, and considering the turnout/result of the vote, evidently the target audience is happy with it.



Happy Monkey  Friday Jan 22 12:06 PM

They may be changing it after all.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jan 22 01:49 PM

The comments are bizarre, but typical of Gizmodo.



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