A petition was started on Change.org this morning that claimed to support changing the name of the City of Buffalo. The petitioner alleged that the use of the world “Buffalo” was offensive because it recalled a history of genocide and the theft of a continent for resource exploitation and environmental degradation.
But local Native Americans recognize that the petition’s intention was not honorable or respectful. Those signed on to the petition left comments that indicate the petition’s inappropriateness, and are becoming increasingly offensive.
Activists say that the petition was “a malicious maneuver by an organization to gain support in belittling a people’s fight for cultural sensitivity and respect.”
It comes at a time when the community has rallied around an effort to change the Lancaster school district’s “Redskins” mascot.
“The purpose was not to raise awareness for the supposed racist connotations of the name, ‘Buffalo’ but rather as a defamatory mockery of a people’s attempt at changing [the Redskins’ mascot],” said the same activist on Facebook.
What is particularly peculiar is that this petition made headline news on all four local television news stations. The media market’s highest rated station put the story at the top of their newscast. But at the time that local television was leading with the story, fewer than 20 people had signed onto the petition.
That raises serious questions about media bias, because of how apparent the story was artificially constructed and placed in the local media by a political operative with seemingly extensive contacts.
Local activists and media observers are asking, who put the story in the media in such a coordinated display? And why was the media so quick to lead with the story so eagerly and immediately?
How Buffalo got it’s name…
When the French explorer Marquis de Lafayette arrived at what is now Buffalo, he named the striking landscape “beautiful river” but the Indians who lived here couldn’t annunciate the French. So beau fleuve became quintessentially Americanized as “Buffalo.”
It had nothing to do with the Bison, and is an endearing story of the American melting pot that should be spotlighted.