By Allan Wall, July 27, 2020
The Cancel Culture is now aiming its guns at a popular local restaurant in Stillwater, Oklahoma, because of its name – Eskimo Joe’s.
Stillwater, Oklahoma is the home of Oklahoma State University, itself no stranger to PC hysteria, as in the recent Mike Gundy t-shirt imbroglio.
Eskimo Joe’s is a very successful local restaurant, founded in 1975, and has become quite well-known outside of the Sooner State.
Full Disclosure: I’ve eaten in Eskimo Joe’s, and their burgers are good.
Its iconic shirts, featuring a smiling Eskimo and his faithful dog, Bucky, are so popular that the company has a clothing store right next to the restaurant.
The shirts, by the way, are manufactured in Eskimo Joe’s own factory in Stillwater, Oklahoma – no outsourcing there!
Eskimo Joe’s has even attracted the favorable attention of establishment figures including comedians Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert who had no issue with the restaurant’s name.
So what’s the problem?
From the petition (highlighted in bold):
Esk*mo Joe’s has been a beloved but racially insensitive Oklahoma brand since it was established in Stillwater in 1975. Everyone in Oklahoma knows Esk*mo Joe’s, but few question the restaurant’s name or branded mascot as offensive or racist, or even know the term “Esk*mo” is considered a racial slur.
I’ve not seen any evidence that the term “Eskimo” is a racial slur. Most Americans have had no contact whatsoever with a real live Eskimo (I have).
People wear the shirts and buy merchandise with the logo, which includes a depiction of an Inuit with exaggerated racial features and the offending term.
A normal person wouldn’t see anything offensive about the logo, featuring a happy Eskimo and his faithful dog, Buffy.
Many summers ago, I did my Army basic and infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia. One of my companions was an Alaskan Eskimo, who bore a strong resemblance to the Eskimo Joe logo.
The heat and humidity of Georgia was a big change for my fellow soldier, who told me that he missed his dogs back in Alaska.
Similar branding is used for Mexico Joe’s, a Mexican food spin-off which presents Joe with a sombrero, a poncho, and a donkey companion. A popular image shows him bull riding a jalapeño pepper with a taco in hand.
Mexico Joe’s is a Mexican restaurant, serving Mexican food, so it’s not surprising that its logos would feature stereotypical Mexican themes. Here are the offensive logos mentioned in the petition:
If it’s any consolation, neither the donkey nor the pepper look mistreated.
Perception is starting to turn. Some students at the local college are voicing their concern, people who have lived in Oklahoma their whole lives are starting to recognize the problem, and newcomers to Oklahoma are horrified.
The petition doesn’t yet call for the offending restaurants to be shut down.
We ask the owner, Stan Clark, for a total rebranding of Esk*mo Joe’s and Mexico Joe’s that removes this dehumanizing imagery and the slur “Esk*mo.”
So abandon the branding the restaurant has been using for 45 years and name it something else?
How about the “White Fragility” restaurant? Or the “SJW Bar and Grill” ?
It’s a liberal urban legend that “Eskimo” is a bad term and “Inuit” is the correct term.
There are two sub-groups of Eskimo – the Inuit (residing in Greenland, Canada, and northern Alaska) and the Yupik (residing in southern Alaska and eastern Siberia). You can’t call a Yupik an Inuit.
The term Eskimo is still the most inclusive term for the entire group.
The opposition to the term Eskimo originated in Canada (where the Inuit reside). Years ago, some zealous Canadian activist-type decided that the term Eskimo was bad, so we’re living with that charge to this day.
At least some Americans are standing up against the Cancel Culture hysteria aimed at a successful, job-creating, local American business.
Visit Allan’s website here.