More than 18 months ago, the upstate New York town of Whitesboro became a national punchline when its residents voted to keep its town seal's depiction of founder Hugh White "wrestling" with a Native American—only it looked like White was choking him. After a brutal Daily Show segment and much deliberation, there's finally a new seal.
According to the official Whitesboro town website, White's depicted wrestling victory was legendary for allegedly establishing good relations between settlers and native Americans:
An incident that occurred between an Oneida Indian and Hugh White sealed a lasting friendship and confidence. An Oneida Indian of rather athletic form was one day present at the White's house with several of his companions and at length for fun commenced wrestling. After many trials, the chief became conqueror and he came up to Hugh White and challenged him. White dared not risk being brow beaten by an Indian nor did he want to be called a coward. In early manhood, he had been a wrestler, but of late felt he was out of practice.
He felt conscious of personal strength and he concluded that even should he be thrown, that would be the lesser of two evils in the eyes of the Oneida Indians than to acquire the reputation of cowardice by declining. He accepted the challenge, took hold of the Indian and by a fortunate trip, succeeded almost instantly in throwing him. As he saw him falling, in order to prevent another challenge, he fell upon the Indian for an instant and it was some moments before he could rise.
When the Indian finally rose, he shrugged his shoulders and was said to have muttered "UGH", you good fellow too much". Hugh White became a hero in the eyes of the Oneida Indians. This incident made more manifest the respect of the Indian for White. In all ways, White dealt fairly with the Oneida tribe and gained their confidence, which brought about good-will.
The town initially voted to keep the seal, even in the face of national attention... but then realized it should change the seal and announced it would work with the Oneida Indian nation on the new design.
That was January 2016. Now, the revised seal has been unveiled and shows White and the chief, as the NY Times puts it, "head-to-head and pushing each other, with their hands on each other’s arms. Both men are on their feet, their expressions neutral. In the previous logo, the chief was being pushed backward, nearly off his feet, with a distressed expression."
Other changes include the chief's headdress and making White's clothing more accurate for the time period.
Mayor Patrick O'Connor declared to a local radio station, "There's no white guy choking a Native American." He also said, "Graphics are much more crisp and clear," and explained that even though the city voted to keep the seal, residents did ask for it to be tweaked here and there.
Let's revisit the Daily Show segment that solved racism: