Some residents of Columbus, Ohio want to change the city's name to remove the colonialist connotation, and they have a hilarious replacement in mind. At the time of this writing, over 33,000 people have signed a petition to change the name of Columbus to Flavortown, Ohio officially. The name references Ohio native and TV icon Guy Fieri, who petitioners feel has done more for Ohio's legacy than Columbus ever did.
It is no secret that Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas was violent, and was not even really the first time Europeans had "discovered" the new land. As the U.S. grapples with its history of racism, some Ohio residents think it's time to distance themselves from Columbus in favor of a more relevant icon. An online petition by 32-year-old Columbus resident Tyler Woodbridge puts forth Guy Fieri as a candidate.
"Columbus is an amazing city, but one whose name is tarnished by the very name itself," Woodbrige wrote. He suggested that Columbus should change its name because of its namesake's legacy of "raping, slave trading, and genocide. That's not exactly a proud legacy."
On the otherhand, Woodbridge made two strong arguments for the name "Flavortown" instead. "For one, it honors Central Ohio's proud heritage as a culinary crossroads and one of the nation's largest test markets for the food industry," he wrote. "Secondly, cheflebrity Guy Fieri was born in Columbus, so naming the city in honor of him (he's such a good dude, really) would be superior to its current nomenclature."
Clearly, thousands of people are on board, as new signatures roll in by the minute. Woodbridge's petition is addressed to Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and to the Columbus City Council. Ginther himself admitted that Christopher Columbus is not a universally beloved figure when he had a statue of the explorer taken down from outside of City Hall last week.
"For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness. That does not represent our great city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past," Ginther said, according to CNN. The outlet also spoke to Woodbridge, who said: "Even though it's my favorite city, I was always a bit ashamed of the name."
Woodbridge listed the reasons that Fieri would be a better namesake for the city — particularly for his long history of charity and activism. He said: "That kind of optimism and charitable work embodies more of what Columbus, Ohio, is about rather than the tarnished legacy of Christopher Columbus."