November 16, 2012

McFadden's "Drink Like a Indian" party

Here's a controversy that came and went in a few hours Friday:

D.C. bar says “drink like a [sic] Indian” to promote Thanksgiving party

By Alex BaldingerMcFadden’s is no stranger to being linked with bad decisions. (Go ahead, look through the bar’s Facebook gallery of party photos and hope against hope you aren’t in any of them.) So it shouldn’t be totally surprising that the West End bar is being roundly slammed for making one really, really bad decision about how to promote its upcoming Thanksgiving party.

And yet, the hangover from this one could be worse than one typically associated with caramel apple shots:
As you can see, the above flier—which is making the rounds on social media and drawing angry comments from the Washington area and beyond—calls for partygoers to “drink like a [sic] Indian.” Apart from the use of the word Indian in place of Native American, DCist points out why the association with binge drinking is so painfully cavalier toward a population whose alcohol-related death rate is reportedly thrice the national average. By the way, November happens to be Native American Heritage Month.

This isn’t the first time McFadden’s has pushed the limits of good taste in promoting an event at its D.C. location. Who could forget August 2010’s “WWIII Bombs Away Bash,” which featured Landmine, M-16 and Hand Grenade shot specials? (McFadden’s also promoted a visit by Ronnie from “Jersey Shore” in Sept. 2010, which represents a different kind of bad taste.)
D.C.'s Douchiest Bar's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Racist Thanksgiving Party PosterJudging by how it plans to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Foggy Bottom bad-memory hole McFadden's seems to be doing everything in its ability to cement its reputation as D.C.'s douchiest bar. The bar, launching pad for countless walks of shame back to the George Washington University dorms and vomit-filled cab rides to Glover Park, figured it would mark the season by inviting patrons to "party like a pilgrim" and "drink like a Indian":

Alcoholism affects Native Americans more severely than any other ethnic group. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control published a study reporting that between 2001 and 2005, nearly 12 percent of all Native American deaths were alcohol-related. The Interior, Justice and Health and Human Services departments also collaborate on an office devoted to combating alcohol and drug abuse on Indian reservations.

But, you know, McFadden's. Way to be racist. (Its Facebook page is filling up with disgusted responses.) Also, maybe work on your use of indefinite articles. Happy Thanksgiving, douchebags.

UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: It looks like McFadden's has canceled the event:

It has come to our attention that one of our Thanksgiving events has caused some concern to our guests. The Pilgrims and Indians party, originally scheduled for Tuesday November 20th, was intended to be a festive event to get into the holiday spirit, and was never meant to offend any ethnicity or group of individuals. We truly apologize for not being more sensitive to our loyal patrons whose support and enthusiasm has been appreciated throughout the years.

We have since canceled the event and removed all promotional materials. In lieu of the event, McFadden's would like to say thank you to our loyal customers by hosting a complimentary cocktail hour from 8-9pm on Tuesday November 20th.
This wasn't just some isolated event. Rather, it appeared to be part of a company-wide promotion:

In Addison, Texas:

In Glendale, Arizona:

I don't know if McFadden's canceled all its Native-themed parties. Let's hope so.

For more on the subject, see Paul Frank's Racist "Powwow" and University of Denver's Cowboys and Indians Party.

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