The official name of Nike’s newly released St. Patty’s Day-themed sneaks is the Nike SB Dunk Low. But because of its brown leather mudguard, black suede heel, and a mid-foot that features a brown-to-black fade, it has been dubbed the “Black and Tan.” (It could also have a little something to do with the fact that the shoe can be customized so that its insole features the image of a black and tan pint.) American beer drinkers recognize a Black & Tan as a drink made up of half stout, half pale ale. But it has a much more menacing and offensive meaning for Irish people. Nike is now biting its tongue at its most recent marketing choice. Fox News reports,
“Sneaker giant Nike is backtracking after a St. Patrick’s Day-themed shoe dubbed the “Black and Tan” by retailers drew criticism for paying unwitting homage to the British paramilitary forces of Northern Ireland.
The black leather sneaker with brown trim earned an unofficial name apparently meant as a nod to the drink made by mixing stout and lager in a pint glass, according to the Belfast Telegraph. But the drink itself takes its name from the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, which became notorious in the 1920s for its attacks on Irish civilians during the War of Independence.”
To read the rest of the Fox News article, go here.
So here’s my question: is it really cool with the Irish that Americans every day, year-round, not just in March, go into bars and order a “Black and Tan” pint but it’s not okay for Nike to refer to its tan and black colored sneakers as Black and Tans? Hmmm. Either way, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody!