Raleigh-based, NC State alum Mark McLawhorn has wrestled with the depiction of mascots based on Native people when he takes the responsibility of recreating them in cartoons for Wolfpack Cartoons prior to the school’s football games. We spoke with him about this earlier this year.

With NC State scheduled to play Florida State tomorrow, Mark has been faced with this challenging responsibility again. The cartoon he drew is shown above, and the following text is copied from Wolfpack Cartoons’ site:

Yep. We’re facing the number one team in the country.

That country is called the United States of America.

And we’ve got plenty of questions to ask ourselves. One of those is how we talk about the people who were here before it was made the United States.

In recent years, there’s been discussion regarding FSU’s use of Chief Osceola as the “symbol” for its Seminole mascot. Obviously, the treatment of Native American mascots is a major conversation in sports, and it’s something I’ve continually been a part of.

On the surface, arguing about “cartoon characters” may seem ridiculous, but it is a microcosm of an ongoing discussion in this grand experiment called America. The argument’s persistence proves that we still have many questions to answer about our identity as a whole. We’ll just have to keep talking and working through it.

This year, I decided NOT to use the Chief in the cartoon, but to use my own mascot, based on Cimarron.

No, this isn’t an answer to anything. But we owe it to ourselves to continue a conversation that started as soon as European feet were planted in the soil of “The New World.”

Well done, Mark.

Last night, the BCS, a tradition since 1998, came to an end. Change, as many will argue, for the better.

71% of you reading this may not think that the Washington NFL franchise should change their nickname. Perhaps an even higher percentage do not think that this year’s BCS Championship might be that much better should the No.1 ranked Florida State University reconsider using the name of the Seminole people. Nor the “Tomahawk Chop”. Nor the pre-game ceremony featuring a young white man in redface and wielding a flaming spear.

A recent poll suggests that the number of people that are thinking about the necessity of changes away from these offensive symbols is actually growing.

No matter your stance on the issue of Native American images, names, and references in sports, our nation is deep into a dialogue concerning their continued use and acceptance. Thankfully, an increasing percentage of our society is becoming more familiar with the views of actual, living, thinking, writing and tweeting Native Americans. As much as this issue concerns billion-dollar sports franchises and state-owned universities, it also directly involves and affects these Native people as whole communities and as individuals.

Mark McLawhorn is not one of these people. He’s white, not Native American. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, works as an Associate Creative Director for University Communications at North Carolina State University, and draws and posts mascot-based cartoons for his website, wolfpackcartoons.com. He is not who most people think about when they envision the individuals affected by the use of offensive mascots and names. I am not going to try to make an argument that Mark, as a white man, is negatively affected by these mascots and names in the same way or to the same deleterious degree that Native people, children and communities are stereotyped, disrespected, and dishonored.

Instead I’m going to share with you recordings of Mark speaking candidly with me about the difficulty and particular problems that these mascots and names cause for him, a white cartoonist with a passion for sports mascots.

Speaking with Mark on the phone, I first asked him how he got started creating Wolfpack Cartoons.

I then asked him where he gets his inspiration and ideas as he is choosing how to depict a mascot.

I then shifted the conversation to ask Mark about his approach to creating the cartoon that had caught my attention and led me to contact Mark for an interview: the cartoon for NC State’s game against Central Michigan. Although they are nicknamed the “Chippewas”, Central Michigan uses no imagery or other reference to Native people in their sports branding.

Mark’s Central Michigan cartoon from 2011 and William and Mary from 2008.

He continued to elaborate on how he approached the lack of a Central Michigan Chippewa mascot and why.

Mark’s Central Michigan cartoon from 2013.

With NC State being in the ACC, the conversation seemed to naturally turn towards how Mark deals with the recurring challenge of representing the mascot of the top-ranked Seminoles.

Mark’s FSU cartoons: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012

At this point, the tone of our conversation shifted slightly, which is the primary reason I am presenting this interview as audio recordings rather than as a written transcript. I asked Mark for his thoughts concerning how he intended to deal with Florida State’s mascot in future cartoons.

Mark is right. This is a continuing discusion which we as a nation, culture, and even as individuals, are continuing to have with ourselves. Regardless of where we end up, no one of us knows at this moment where that will be. Change may be inevitable, but what would that change look like? Who gets to say? Dan Snyder, yes. Opponents to the name, in some way, even if indirectly, yes. Native voices across the US and Canada are finally being heard. Thankfully, a white cartoonist with a day job in university communications is continuing these conversations with himself and with us through his work.

Mark and I made these recordings on October 4, with the Wolfpack set to play the Seminoles in Tallahassee on the 26th. Checking back with his website, I saw the beautifully rendered cartoon which Mark chose to run for that week’s matchup. Mark later wrote me an email to say that the lack of an FSU cartoon was more coincidence and that he “just plain ran out of time” rather than an intentional omission. Nonetheless, we’re curious to see how things work out for next year’s match-up between the Wolfpack and the defending BCS Champions.

In an “Oregonian” (spellcheck said ok!) move, the Whiteskins announce the addition of four new shirt designs to add to the team’s already game-changing roster of satirically socially-beneficial fantasy football regalia. These styles are scheduled to be available for purchase in our online store in the near future. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter to let us know what you like, don’t like, and how many of each you want to order.



Logo (Black)

Throwback Helmet

The Washington Warriors are coming to life, and you can help here. We tend to think there is never a bad time to vote against traditions of racism and derogation.

Brittain Peck (Whiteskins Offensive Coordinator) has sent us the following images of the alternate third uniforms of his proposed concept & design for the UniWatch Redesign the Redskins Contest.

Just a few notes about these uniforms:

The colors of the uniform consist of charcoal gray (predominantly) with deep red and yellow stripes and trim. The inclusion of the yellow (not one of the colors included in the primary Warriors team colors palette) with red (which is one of the colors included in the primary Warriors team colors palette) is intended as a tribute to the burgundy and gold of the Redskins current uniforms with a drastically different presentation.

The helmet features the Warriors alternate “W” logo, which has also been brilliantly “emoticonized” into the following symbol: \\* (thanks Arr Scott).

The Redskins Redesign Contest being run by UniWatch has wrapped up the first round of voting and moved into the finals. Thanks to all of the support from all of you reading out there in Whiteskins Nation, our very own Offensive Coordinator’s design (Brittain Peck) has moved into the finals as well.

And so here we are. Again. Shamelessly pleading for your support. Again.

To keep this begging from getting too awkward, we’ve asked Brittain to throw you a bone. The poor guy obviously thinks that “bone” means a handful of close-up preview images showing the detailed views of his proposed Washington Warriors uniforms. Click any of the images posted here to see a larger image.

If you feel like voting, we’d greatly appreciate it, and you can do so here.


Shoulder stripe detail with three stars reminiscent of the flag of Washington D.C. and military rank insignia.

Chest detail with alternate \\* logo embroidered as “badge of honor” on upper left chest.

Pant stripe detail.

The uniform design enthusiasts over at UniWatch have initiated a uniform revision / redesign contest challenging contributors to envision better days for the Washington Redskins and our nation as a whole. The Whiteskins couldn’t thank them enough.

Beginnng last weekend and concluding yesterday, the submissions were shared with the public in three posts: 1, 2, and 3.

As with everything, everyone has an opinion, and the Whiteskins are known for not only having one, but also for sharing it. Whiteskins are no different here, but actually all the more biased seeing as the Whiteskins very own Offensive Coordinator, Brittain Peck, has thrown his hat, or rather redesigned helmet, into the mix. That’s right, vote for Brittain.

Vote here.

And, you didn’t hear this from us, but you can vote only once per computer / device, but we imagine that many of you have more than one computer / device.

Rumors are cheap and plenty concerning the degree to which teams’ uniforms will or will not be butchered and/or beautified when Nike takes over the design and production for the 2012-2013 season. As always, the Whiteskins aren’t much for rumors, so confirm what you read here by looking at the image above: the Dubskins will destroy the competition before the coin is even tossed. How? Bad-ass uniforms. And this is just the home get-up; the away suit is soon to come.

Rob Schneider in Red Face

Bedtime Stories aired on a cable channel over the weekend and as luck would have it, someone left the TV in the Whiteskins lobby turned to this channel. As luck would also have it, our very own Offensive Coordinator just happened to walk through the lobby on his way into his office at the exact moment that Rob Schneider’s character, “Chief Running Mouth”, had his face enlarged to fill the entire screen. If there was ever a reason for the Whiteskins coaching staff to put in some after-hours work, Rob Schneider became the latest of those reasons.

Here’s our question: would an actor acting in blackface be as acceptable as this characterization of “Chief Running Mouth”?

Rob Schneider as Chief Running Mouth in ‘Bedtime Stories’.

Whiteskins understand, and understand well, that we stand on the pale, white, fightin’ shoulders of those that came before us. Utmost respect to the Fightin’ Whites and who better to break this story to us back in 2002 than two of the Whiteskins favorite white people: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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Click here to view the video on The Daily Show’s website.