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An old friend of mine lives in the greater Utica area in upstate New York, and while I was there, he quipped, “You’re probably the only tourist Utica has seen in 15 years.” Still, he was a good sport and showed me around town, everywhere from their cemetary to the Saranac Brewing Company and much more. Of all things, the Whitesboro coat of arms caught my attention, because, more than anything, it strikes me as racist. There’s a stiffness to rampant political correctness; I get that, but still, for a town named WHITESboro, do they really need, as their official seal — the mark of the town that’s featured prominently on official letterhead and town signage — a white guy choking a Native American?

UPDATE:  Since this post has already been pushed way down the list of posts already, I reposted Gear’s comment, as well as the linkage he provided on his blog — Click here.


  1. The Whitesboro seal isn’t quite what it appears at first glance. Hugh White, the founder of Whitesboro and the mullet clad gentleman on the left of the seal, cemented his relationship with the natives of the area during a wrestling match. He was pretty sure he was going to lose, since his opponent had just beaten a string of challengers and Hugh hadn’t wrestled in years, but he got a lucky break, executed a throw, and then held on for dear life and pinned him. And so the peaceful co-existence of settler and native began…

    There’s still a sub-text to be inferred if you’re so inclined, but the seal’s flaws are more a matter of poor artistic execution than racism. Then again, my mind boggles at the potential misunderstandings of *any* depiction of two men wrestling.

  2. What a funny looking seal. I used to live in Utica, which is nearby. What a dump. Makes me thankful I live in Albany. That’s really saying something.

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