Bags of Tostitos chips with the controversial Washington NFL team name and mascot displayed prominently at its center has prompted some Natives to call for a boycott of the company that makes the snack food. The bags are currently on shelves in stores throughout Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas.
In July, the Washington NFL team announced that Frito-Lay, Inc., a subsidiary of the PepsiCo conglomerate, is now its “exclusive beverage and snack partner.” The food and snack company will also provide non-alcoholic drinks at concession stands at the team’s stadium, FedEx Field, during the coming season.
“The Redskins are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history,” said Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo North America, according to the team’s website. “We’re proud to offer our broad lineup of beverages and snacks, including choices for every consumer occasion, to the Redskins family. We’ll put fans first in everything we do. We already have some great ideas on how to bring new experiences to the fans and the community and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
Washington, D.C., resident and ICMN Culture Editor Simon Moya-Smith posted a photo of the bag to Twitter which prompted condemnation of the Frito-Lay company by Natives.
“Smh. Will never buy @Tostitos again. Unbelievable,” wrote a user. “How many companies am I going to have to boycott?!?! Dag nang it @Tostitos,” tweeted actress Tinsel Korey. Supporters of the Washington NFL team, however, jabbed at the voices of opposition. “Explain to me how a Native American on a supposed Mexican food is ‘racist’? Explain to me how ‘Mexicans’ came about,” a user said. Another argued that the logo is not as offensive as the team name.
The name of the Washington NFL team including its imagery have been at the center of controversy for decades. Natives argue the use of an Indian mascot is dehumanizing and commodifies a race of people, whereas team owner, Dan Snyder, has argued the name and logo honors Natives. He said he will “NEVER” change the name, instructing the use of all caps.
Meanwhile, Dictionary.com defines the word “redskin” as a “contemptuous term used to refer to a North American Indian,” and news articles have recently surfaced demonstrating that the word was once used in the buying and selling of flesh and hair taken from murdered Natives. In 2005, the American Psychological Association called for the immediate abolishment of Indian mascots based on empirical data demonstrating the impact such imagery and language has on youth.
Representatives of Frito-Lay, Inc. did not respond to Indian Country Media Network’s request for comment at the time of publication of this story.