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Blumenthal Calls For New Names For 'Racist' Buoys In Long Island Sound

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is fighting for a name change for two offensively named buoys off the coast of Branford.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is fighting for a name change for two offensively named buoys off the coast of Branford. Photo Credit: Thomas Caine, file

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is urging the U.S. Geological Survey to rename two "offensively" named buoys in Long Island Sound off the coast of Branford.

Blumenthal sent a letter to Suzette Kimball, acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Va., expressing similar concerns to those of Connecticut State Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy also wrote a letter requesting such action to Margaret Thomas, Connecticut’s representative on the State Geographic Names Board.

Noting the names of the areas in question, which include “Negro Heads Rocks” and “Negro’s Head Buoy,” Blumenthal wrote to Kimball:

“These offensive names – attached to a navigational buoy and rock outcropping – are a disservice to the diverse, tolerant, and welcoming character of our state. They could potentially perpetuate stereotypes and encourage prejudice and bias – particularly because their official designation implies government endorsement.”

Noting Kennedy’s prior efforts, Blumenthal asks Kimball to work through relevant channels to “ensure that this name change is accomplished as quickly as possible.”

Blumenthal added that a name change for the landmarks would be “consistent with the United States Board on Geographic Names policy which prohibits names that imply discrimination or are ‘derogatory to a particular racial or ethnic group, gender or religious group.’”

Blumenthal also offered Kimball his assistance and full support in any effort to change the names.

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