Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s day. Not just a very holy day for the most widely celebrated Saint in the Catholic Collection, St. Paddy is also the most notable Irish saint, giving way to Irish heritage celebrations around the world by people of Irish decent, people of not-Irish decent, and people who showered that morning with Irish Spring. Most Americans will celebrate their non Irish heritage by wearing green, getting drunk off of green beer, and making out with someone wearing green Mardi Gras beads and green hairspray.
Seeing how popular this whole St. Patrick’s day this is, Nike, the popular athletic footwear company, wanted to
get in on the action honor the history and culture of Good Old Erin.. and came up with a shoe that very accurately depicts how Americans view Ireland. The new Nike SB Dunk Low, pictured below, is a lovely blend of black with shades of brown, has been nicknamed “Black and Tan,” referring to the boozy beer beverage made from mixing Guinness and Harp.
The problem with the nickname is that “black and tan” was also the nickname for the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, a British parliamentary group deployed in the early 1920′s when the Irish were revolting (I mean, they can be pretty disgusting, but this was revolution revolting) to help keep the peace. Keeping the peace included some pretty shady tactics. Like destroying property. Or beating up civilians. Or killing them.
So by naming the new shoes “Black and Tan” Nike has effectively said “we don’t know anything about Irish heritage, but we’re willing to pretend along with the rest of America.”
Unfortunately, this has pissed off the few Irish Americans that know anything about their heritage. (I brought up this situation to my husband of Irish decent, and he knew nothing of the fear-mongers-in-khakis until I explained it to him).
“Is there no one at Nike able to Google ‘Black and Tan?”
-Ciaran Staunton, president of Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform
It also pissed off other groups of people… like, you know… the Irish (I mean, who would ruin a perfectly good Guinness by mixing it with Harp? AMIRIGHT?). But since when did Americans ever worry about what they thought? In fact, when have Americans ever thought of anyone except themselves?
Well, to help people better understand how offensive this oversight is, I’ve come up with a few shoe nicknames that your average American would understand:
The Reservation Runners: So comfortable you’ll cry a single tear.
The Slave-Drivers: The best for whipping yourself into shape.
The Westborough Flat Shoe: 4 out of 5 Baptists pick-it.
The Nazi Cap-toes: Goose-step into one.
The Al-Qaeda Kickers: You’ll feel like you can fly in them.