By Mike Wise
“My job is to entertain the people,” Williams says. “A lot of them tell me, they say, ‘You know, my wife won’t even cook me dinner till she see you on TV and says, ‘There’s my Injun.’ The older people been watching me so long, they don’t even say ‘Indian.’ They say, ‘Injun. There’s my Injun.’ And it’s on.”
In some ways, it’s as if Archie Bunker or Amos and Andy were hurled forward in time, not sure what to make of all these hypersensitive, politically correct folk who want them gone.
After all, no professional team in 2013 would begin letting an African-American man dress up in Native American regalia and wave a tomahawk, pay for his admission, his parking pass and let him shape animal balloons for children in the corporate suites on Sundays.
Yet like the nickname, Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have grandfathered in Chief Zee, tone-deaf to the caricaturing of an ethnic minority, unable to see past a franchise’s symbolic touchstone.
Williams can’t see it, either, for that would mean giving up his identity. And he can’t have that. He’s been to too many games, showed up for too many charity events as that costumed Indian.
Trying to enlighten him is like trying to enlighten your half-cocked, old-head uncle who uses racial epithets at Thanksgiving dinner. At some point, you either let him eat or kick him out—and no one is kicking Williams out of his burgundy-and-gold bubble.
Should Redskins Mascot Chief Zee Know Better Because He's Black?
We recommend reading the entire piece ("Chief Zee, the Redskins, and the Setting Sun"), which is well-written--is Wise cruelly mocking a 72-year-old man and even playing the race card? Or should Zema Williams know better than to put on the redface because he is black, and is his treatment by Wise turnabout and fair play?
For more on the Washington Redskins, see Peter King Website Bans "Redskins" and Chief Zee's Successor?