Friday, March 16, 2012

Nike apologises over 'insensitive' Black and Tan sneakers

We read:
"Nike, the sportswear company, has apologised after issuing a St Patrick's Day-themed training shoe which raised memories of a British paramilitary unit notorious for terrorising Irish Roman Catholics in the 1920s.

The $US90 limited edition "black and tan" sneakers were put on sale in the United States in time for this weekend's St Patrick's Day celebrations, a popular and often alcohol-filled holiday for millions of Irish Americans.

Officially named the SB Dunk Low, Nike said that it had nicknamed the "beer-themed" shoe the Black and Tan because its colours were reminiscent of a pint of Guinness mixed with Harp pale ale. Irish Americans protested that the name evoked memories of the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, known as the Black and Tans for their makeshift uniforms, which carried out a brutal oppression of Roman Catholics between 1920 and 1921.

One critic said that naming the trainer Black and Tan was so "insensitive" it was comparable to calling it al-Qaeda.

Advertisements for the trainer read: "'Tis the season for Irish beer and why not celebrate with Nike. The Black and Tan sneaker takes inspiration for the fine balancing act of a Stout [Guinness] on top a pale ale [Harp] in a pint glass."

The Black and Tans were First World War veterans recruited by the Royal Irish Constabulary as temporary constables and deployed in Ireland to help suppress the IRA uprising which led to the formation of the Irish Republic.

They became infamous for their brutal treatment of civilians including women and children, burning and sacking towns and villages in revenge for IRA assassinations.

Source

Black and tan is to my knowledge the normal name for a drink made up 50/50 of beer and stout. Nike were a bit unlucky for that to be suddenly found offensive.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Political correctness is a far greater threat to our freedom and liberty than is terrorism..."

Anonymous said...

Some people have way to much time on their hands. To them I say "Póg mo thóin!"

Dean said...

It's a good bet the people at Nike (or their advertising agency) didn't even know about the Irish Constabulary Reserve Force.

People in general know far more about beer than history.

Anonymous said...

But sounds a bit suspicious to suddenly dream up "Black & Tan"! More likely it was one of those advertizing tricks.

Anonymous said...

"a popular and often alcohol-filled holiday for millions of Irish Americans"

Hardly need to be Irish for it to be "alcohol-filled". Pretty much all Americans take part in St Pattys Day antics

Anonymous said...

Alcohol helps to suppress the guilt-complex that Catholicism imposes from childhood!

prescient33 said...

Your ancestors and relatives were never oppressed by the Black And Tans, as were mine. Use of that term is as odious as the "Brown Shirts" in Italy, or the Gestapo in Nazi Germany in Germany and throughout Europe. The Black and Tan committed countless atrocities in North and South Ireland, and deserve equal opprobrium with the German and Italian oppressors of the last century.

Anonymous said...

3:09 I hope you are not claiming proxy victimhood like "african-americans" do re their enslaved ancestors.

Anonymous said...

Funny, in the USA, if you go to an Irish bar and want half guinness, half bass, with guinness on top, you order a black and tan.

Anonymous said...

That name any other time of year would not have been a problem. By bringing it out as a St. Patrick's Day promotion the name seemed to mean more than the drink. Dumb move on Nike's part.

Anonymous said...

Probably the common advertizing tactic to get publicity using controversy.

Anonymous said...

i applaud any insensitive products. they help society. the more things like this happen, and people refuse to apologize, the more likely people will eventually come to their senses and stop trying to find reasons to be offended all the time.

Anonymous said...

"That's a Black and Tan fact," as the late Harold Pinter has some bloke say in one of his plays. (I forget which one...)

Isn't the term also used to describe a type of dog?