Petition launched to rename Florida's Lee County to Bruce Lee County
A petition has been launched to rename a county in Florida after Bruce Lee.
Lee County is named after civil war Confederate general Robert E. Lee, though the petition suggests that renaming it after the martial arts icon would “continue the battle to eradicate racism in the United States”.
“It’s time to stop idolizing these Confederate soldiers,” the Change.org page – which was started by Florida-based organization Artsemble Underground – states. “Ending racism includes the removal of racist figures, statues, and idols across the south.”
It adds: “One of the biggest issues about changing the name of the county is the high cost involved with, but what if the cost would be very minimum, and most of it would be just changing the narrative?”
The petition notes that Bruce Lee is “bridged the gap between East and West” and helped to “change the way Asians were presented in American films”.
“We are not trying to change our past, we are trying to improve our future, and what better way than use an inspiring, positive influential figure as our namesake,” it concludes.
The petition is seeking 1,000 signatures, and at the time of writing has already gained 500 supporters.
“Robert E. Lee never even set foot in our county. He has nothing to do with this place,” said Brian Weaver, owner of Artsemble Underground.
The county was originally named in 1887 under Fort Myers citizen and Confederate captain Francis Hendry. Lee also owned hundreds of slaves at one point.
Meanwhile, director Quentin Tarantino recently caused controversy with his portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, after his version of the star loses a fight to Brad Pitt‘s character Cliff Booth in the film.
After Tarantino called Lee a “kind of an arrogant guy” at a press conference in Moscow, viewers hit back, and Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee said in response (via Variety): “He could shut up about it. That would be really nice.
“Or he could apologise or he could say, ‘I don’t really know what Bruce Lee was like. I just wrote it for my movie. But that shouldn’t be taken as how he really was.’”
However, Tarantino defended his decision in response to the backlash.