A petition has been launched to rename a Florida county after the late actor/martial artist, Bruce Lee. The petition comes as the county in question, Lee County, on the west coast of the state, is named after Confederate general and slave owner Robert E. Lee.
The petition argues that renaming the county after the Enter the Dragon mastermind would “continue the battle to eradicate racism in the United States”.
The petition is on a Change.org page started by the Florida-based organisation Artsemble Underground. Its description reads: “It’s time to stop idolising these Confederate soldiers. Ending racism includes the removal of racist figures, statues, and idols across the south.”
It also 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?”.
In discussing why it chose Bruce Lee, the petition argues that Bruce Lee “bridged the gap between East and West” and helped to “change the way Asians were presented in American films”.
It concludes: “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.”
The petition is seeking just 1,000 signatures, and at the time of writing, has gained 650 supporters. Brian Weaver, leader of Artsemble Underground, explained: “Robert E. Lee never even set foot in our county. He has nothing to do with this place.”
In other news, auteur Quentin Tarantino recently sparked debate with his controversial depiction of Bruce Lee in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. In the film, his version of Lee loses a fight to Brad Pitt’s character, Cliff Booth.
Tarantino called Lee “kind of an arrogant guy” at a press conference in Moscow, and many people hit back, including Lee’s daughter, Shannon. She told Variety: “He could shut up about it. That would be really nice.”
She continued: “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.'”
Notoriously, Tarantino defended his portrayal of Bruce Lee in response to the backlash on The Joe Rogan Experience.
Listen to Tarantino discuss the controversy below.