Dan Snyder has written yet another letter to Redskins fans, this time encouraging them to wear blackface on Halloween. Below please find an unedited version.
To Everyone in our Washington Redskins Nation,
I want to reach out to you — our fans — about a topic I wish to address directly: the wearing of blackface on Halloween. While our focus is firmly on the playing field, it is important that you hear straight from me on this issue. As the owner of the Redskins and a lifelong fan of blackface, here is what I believe and why I believe it.
I still remember my first minstrel show. Most people do. I was only six, but I remember coming through the vestibule into the theater with my father, and immediately being struck by the enormity of the production and the passion of the patrons all around me. And when the actors would break into their rendition of “Dixie”, I knew it was the chant of a proud people. That tradition — the song, the cheer — it mattered so much to me as a child, and I know it matters to every other blackface fan in the D.C. area and across the nation.
Our past isn’t just where we came from — it’s who we are.
Which is why this movement to eliminate blackface from Halloween is so troubling to me. I’ve listened carefully to the commentary and perspectives on all sides, and I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name. But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended blackface family, but among African-Americans too. Blackface was originally intended as a respectful way of portraying our African-American friends, of which I have many. And many black people themselves have black faces, which is surely a license for us white people to have them as well. Blackface was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.
I respect the opinions of those who disagree. I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn. But we cannot ignore our history, or the strong feelings of most of us white people as well as African-Americans throughout the country. After so many years, blackface continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come.
So this year on Halloween, make sure you show your black friends how much you respect them by wearing blackface. Together, we can make this the spook-iest Halloween yet. You can put that in capital letters.
With Respect and Appreciation,
P.S. Hail to the Redskins!