Moya-Smith: This Is What the Ugly Face of American Racism Looks Like

Courtesy / On Thursday, The Huffington Post tweeted a photo of a man playing Indian during a Washington football team game.

Autumn is a vicious season for Native Americans.

There’s Columbus Day. Indian costumes on Halloween. Thanksgiving. You’ve even got Native American Heritage Day LITERALLY on Black Friday every year. And then — you guessed it — it’s back to fantastic fanatical football buffoonery.

On Thursday, The Huffington Post sports section tweeted a photo of a man playing Indian during a Washington football team game in New Jersey against the New York Giants. The unidentified sports fan was painted in full redface and wore what appears to be a wig.

A Washington football team fan wears redface during a game on Thursday. Photo courtesy

So there you have it, folks. Racism. It’s right there in the photo above this paragraph. It’s alive and well. Just ask an Indian [and just take a long gander at the photo to see exactly what Native Americans have to deal with in this so-called “post-racial” America].

“But, Simon,” you might say, “I’m sure he’s not intending to be racist.”

My response to that ol’ banal argument: intent does not change the outcome. It’s like if some guy painted his face black for a Halloween party and then said he wasn’t intending to be racist. His intent doesn’t change the fact that blackface [and redface] is extremely offensive and, yep, racist.

The lesson here is simple, sports fans: don’t paint your face red. Don’t play Indian. There’s a thing called social media now. There’s also a thing called screenshots. We see you. Everyone does. And we’ll call you out. It’s inevitable. Remember: redface is racism. Think, McFly, think.

Simon Moya-Smith. Photo courtesy Skaruianewah Logan.

Simon Moya-Smith, 32, is the Culture Editor at Indian Country Today, and a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Follow him @simonmoyasmith