In an instance of either gloriously world-class pranksterism or political correctness run amok, a man who calls himself a member of the Navajo Nation has filed a Change.org petition demanding that Buffalo, N.Y. rename itself because the appellation “Buffalo” is “offensive and racist.”
“Tell the Mayor and City Council of Buffalo, New York, and Berkshire Hathaway, owner of Buffalo News, to change the racist titles of the municipality and the news outlets, respectively, to no longer include the word ‘Buffalo,'” Change.org user Mark Beasley writes in the petition.
“Buffalo is the name of the animal that was driven almost to extinction by the non-Native forces in order to annihilate and drive out my ancestors from the American landscape,” the petitioner declares.
“End the use of racist and genocidal imagery and symbols toward Native Americans today. End the pain and denigration these symbols and images incite and the damage to the psyches of Native Americans everywhere.”
Beasley started the petition last week, according to Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ.
It’s not clear if Beasley is serious.
The website Downtrend says he is joking. As evidence, the right-leaning political news site cites Redskins Facts, which links to a YouTube video showing a Navajo man named Mark Beasley supporting the Redskins mascot. (RELATED: Dear Deeply Offended Redskins Haters: Actual Navajo Nation High School Mascot IS REDSKINS)
Redskins Facts is an online community which supports the perpetually criticized Washington Redskins mascot.
As of early Monday morning, Beasley’s petition had garnered 217 signees.
A smattering of signees supported his argument against the Buffalo city name.
“The name of Buffalo is offensive and we need to respect cultures,” wrote one.
“The city name is offensive,” agreed another.
Overwhelmingly, though, signees wrote that they loathed the online entreaty.
“This is the stupidest petition,” wrote a fairly representative dissenter.
Another signee told a joke: “A Native American man walks into a hotel in Las Vegas. The receptionist asks, ‘Do you have a reservation?'”
A third exemplar of disagreement wrote: “Honestly, I’m just signing this to troll Buffalo.”
The city of Buffalo has been so-named since the 1700s. Some people believe the name is a bastardization of the French “Beau Fleuve” for “Beautiful River.” Other people think the Western New York metropolis of some 258,959 souls gets its name from bison that once roamed the area.
Buffalo is famous as the place where buffalo wings were invented. It’s also home to six Frank Lloyd Wright homes (as well as a Wright-designed office building razed in 1950 to make way for a truck stop that never got built).
Famous people from Buffalo include Rick James, the Goo Goo Dolls and, of course, NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski.
Other American cities named Buffalo include Buffalo, Ill. (pop. 503), Buffalo, S.C. (pop. 1,266) and Buffalo, Texas (pop. 1,804).