The Pigskins Shame Spiral is an occasional feature tracking developments related to the name of D.C.’s beloved football team.
Who: Jacqueline White is a character on the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt played by white actress Jane Krakowski. The character, however, is a Lakota Sioux woman who hides her Native American heritage with blue contact lenses and blonde hair. White is part of the show’s “major race problem,” or is one of the reasons it’s great, depending on who you ask. But beyond attracting criticism and controversy, the character has also allowed the show’s creators and writers to do a good thing: eviscerate the Washington football team’s archaic and racist name.
Change the name? Not only that—but White and her boyfriend Russ Snyder, whose clueless, rich family owns the team, decide in the season two finale to “take down the Washington [Pigskins].”
Why? Because the arguments to keep it are this stupid.
Shame Spiral rating: Finger wag. This subplot is mercilessness in its criticism of the name and the reasons owner Dan Snyder has provided for keeping it. Take, for example, the show’s take on the team’s fight song:
Heil to the [Pigskins] /
Scalp the other team /
Celebrate with fire water /
Help Germany win the war.
But will this actually move the dial on public opinion? Doubtful. Beyond the fans who insist the team’s name will “NEVER” be changed, the show’s other tone-deaf subplots that deal with race (why, Tina Fey, why?) make it hard to focus on the good stuff.
Illustration by Jandos Rothstein; screenshots via Netflix