By Jesse Taylor / @JesseTaylor74
With so much drama surrounding the Washington Redskins’ team name, I decided to track down a person with actual red skin to get his thoughts.
I was a little worried at first. I don’t recall ever actually seeing someone with red skin. But I assured myself that there had to be someone out there, because sometimes when embarrassed, I get red skin. Like the time at my son’s open house when he was asked to present and describe something about his dad in front of the whole class and all the other parents. He smiled and said, “Big, loud farter.” Everyone turned and looked at me. I turned red then.
Red skin is not a permanent thing for me, but if I can do it temporarily, someone out there must have red skin all the time.
Unfazed by that humiliating “farter” episode, I went back to my kid’s school. Nobody there with red skin.
I walked the halls of all 26 floors in my office building. Not a person with red skin anywhere that I could see.
The local farmer’s market? Nope. The movie theater playing that new baseball movie with Don Draper? A great place to find sports fans, but no one with red skin.
The mall? The barbershop? All 44 BART stations? Nope, nope and nope (times 44).
I came home exhausted from my search. As a last-ditch effort, I placed a call to Chief Zee, the unofficial mascot of the Washington Redskins. He doesn’t have red skin, but maybe he knows someone who does.
Chief Zee hung up on me.
I plunged my depressed body deep into the couch, believing I would never find a red-skinned person to speak with. But when you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. That’s when I turned on my TV, saw a baseball game on ESPN and heard this from the announcer:
“Cleveland is playing tonight’s game with the primary ‘C’ logo on their hats. You’ll remember, Chief Wahoo was demoted to a secondary logo prior to the start of the season. So there’ll be games this year where he’s absent from the hat.”
The camera zoomed in on a shot of Mr. Secondary Logo Chief Wahoo and his bright red face smiling widely from the sleeve of Cleveland’s jerseys. “Hey, there’s someone with red skin!” I shouted to no one in particular. “And his boss just demoted him. The best interviewees are always down on their luck. And easiest to get.”
With a little journalistic ingenuity (the “Keep Chief Wahoo” Facebook page), I tracked down a cell number for the only red-skinned person I could find on planet Earth. I called Chief Wahoo. He answered. Here’s our conversation:
Me: Hello? Chief Wahoo?
Chief Wahoo: Yessir.
Oh. Wow. Hi. How are you?
Chief Wahoo: Doing alright. Who’s this?
Jesse Taylor. I’m a reporter working on a story about the Washington Redskins’ team name. Can I ask you a few questions?
Well, you’re the only person I could find who has actual red skin. I was hoping to get your thoughts on the name.
What do you want to know?
Well, you’ve had red skin since your inception in 1947. How has that skin color impacted your life? Based on that impact, do you think Washington should have “Redskins” as its football team name?
Actually, I had yellow skin in 1947. It wasn’t until 1951 that my skin turned red.
Oh. How did your skin color change? Red dye?
I’m a cartoon, dog. Not Sammy Sosa. Whoever draws me can make my skin any color they choose.
But since 1951 it’s been red, right?
It has. I mean, look, how would you feel if you were the only person in existence with red skin? Weird right?
I have no idea why they named their football team after me, if that’s what you’re asking.
Well, no. Technically, I don’t think they named it after you. They claim it’s in reference to the strength and courage of Native Americans.
Get the f*ck outta here. Seriously?
I’m not really surprised. Y’all non-toons in America have some real issues with us Native Americans. Look at what they did to me. I can’t wipe this cheesy-ass smile off my face. Might as well paint me black and put some watermelon under my chin.
Yet you and the Redskins still exist. Why is that?
Well, it looks like I’m not long for this world. Instead of admitting their mistake and just redrawing me as something that’s not racist — you know, like something that’s not based on the people that were slaughtered in this country — the Indians are slowly fazing me out.
You ever text someone you shouldn’t be texting, and then your wife walks in?
What’d you do?
I hid my phone, then went back later and deleted the texts when she wasn’t looking.
That’s what the Indians are doing to me.
At least they are trying to move away from the racist image that is your face.
Washington isn’t even trying to do that. They are standing behind their racist name.
Same reason. They don’t want to back down and admit it’s racist. Especially when their president’s dad was such a huge part of their team history.
Instead of making a change, they choose other tactics. What do you make of the donations the Indians and Redskins make to Native American charities? And what about the Native Americans who speak out in support of the names and logos?
Are you educated? Do you know anything about history?
You humans have a long history of degrading people based on beliefs and skin color and whatever other stupid reasons you can think of. Then you go and use some of those same people to speak on behalf of your degrading ways. And you fall for it every time.
Why would someone speak out in favor of their own degradation?
Again, I shouldn’t have to tell you this. You keep a group of people down and deprive them of certain basic human rights, you’ll find some who will sell out to get a little piece of the pie. And for those who already have the entire pie, it’s smart to give up a little piece in order to keep the whole thing in your possession.
You have some really deep thoughts on this.
Of course I do. I’ve been a racist caricature for 63 years now.
So, for those reading this, explain why the name Redskin is racist.
F*ck your readers if they don’t already know why it’s racist. I’m not here to educate people on the subject.
Don’t support something racist if you’re too lazy to research why it’s actually racist. Go read a book. Take a course on Native American Studies at your local community college. Can’t afford it? The library is free. There’s plenty of resource material there. Try interacting with a diverse group of experts on the topic. Actually, go up to a Native American and call them a “Redskin,” and tell me how that goes.
Sh*t. Come up to me, someone whose skin actually IS red, and call me a redskin. Watch how quick this stupid-ass smile disappears from my face.
We done here? I gotta go. I have a phone screen interview for a mascot opening at a small college in Oklahoma — trying to get that “primary logo” status back.
Yeah. I’m good. Thanks for your time. Bye.
Don’t say “goodbye” — I’m Native American.
Oh sorry. My bad. Until next time then.
Man, shut your ass up. I’m just messing with you. Later.
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