The Washington Redskins. The Cleveland Indians. The Atlanta Braves. All three are storied sports franchises that have existed for years with names that Native Americans kind of take offense towards. Aunt Jemima. Uncle Ben. Lucky from Lucky Charms. All three are mascots that have played off racial stereotypes for decades in the the interest of enticing consumers. In America, we're big fans of cultural appropriation.
Take Mohawk Tavern, a recently-opened bar over in Windsor Terrace from the same folks who brought you Park Slope's Skylark & Gowanus' Lowlands Bar. Over at KensingtonBK, a blog that I didn't know existed until coming across this story, they recently posted a short interview with the co-owners. It didn't take long for commenters to voice their opinion on the name, reminding us that the Mohawk people are a tribe of Native Americans who have already endured enough, including years of battles with alcohol addiction. They don't need some Brooklyn bar piling on by naming itself after the tribe.
I TOTALLY agree. I mean, imagine how much of a slap-in-the-face it would be if you were a Mohawk member here in Brooklyn. One day, you're strolling down Prospect Ave and, out of nowhere, you find yourself face-to-face with a business that's trying to profit off of your tribe's name. You think to yourself, "Surely this can't be happening. I thought we lived in a post-racial society." You gather your strength & step inside, only to find a whirlwind of headdresses & moccasins & peace pipes. A huge photo of the guy from The Village People hangs behind the bar. The Lone Ranger plays on a constant loop on a TV in the corner while patrons gather around shots of some beverage called a "Wampum Wallop," pausing only to do the Tomahawk Chop before downing them.
It's just not right.
Too bad that's NOT what's going on at Mohawk Tavern. The owners grew up upstate in the Mohawk Valley, an area where the Mohawk River flows. They wanted to pay tribute. End of story. Still, because of the uproar, they're changing the name. DEMOCRACY WINS AGAIN!
While we're on the topic, I can think of a number of bars & restaurants throughout Park Slope whose names are WHOLLY OFFENSIVE. As such, I am putting the following businesses on notice:
Uncle Barry's - Offensive to your pervy uncle
Hungry Ghost - Offensive to starving specters
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - Offensive to all the giant lizards killed by that old-timey giant asteroid
Fatty Daddy Taco - Offensive to Peter Griffin
Alchemy - Offensive to those who transform base metals into noble metals
Littleneck - Offensive to George Lucas
Wangs / Pickle Shack / V-Spot - Offensive to genitalia enthusiasts
Ginger’s - Offensive to redheads everywhere
Café Grumpy - Offensive to everyone's favorite curmudgeon dwarf
Cheeburger Cheeburger - Offensive to SOMEBODY...I mean, c'mon now
Offensively-named businesses…you have FIVE BUSINESS DAYS to change your name or we will take to the comments section of blogs to force your hand.
Read way more from Shawn at eatdrinksnack.com and eatdrinktaco.com.