Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Using the term "Strange Fruit" makes you a racist(!)

An Austin-based public relations firm is making headlines this week — and not because of its talented clients. Strange Fruit PR, the local hospitality PR firm that represents many of Austin's most popular restaurants, is under fire for its racially insensitive name.

On Saturday, a slew of tweets called out the company for using a name associated with the lynching of blacks in the South. Based on a poem by Abel Meeropol, "Strange Fruit" was made famous after it was recorded as a song by Billie Holiday in 1939. The phrase "strange fruit" refers to the bodies of black men and women hanging from trees.

Strange Fruit PR shared its official statement with CultureMap via email:

"We were wrong. We extend our deepest & sincerest apologies for the offense caused by the name of our public relations firm. This is very troublesome to us & was most definitely never our intention to draw any parallels to Abel Meeropol's powerful poem & the song that holds the name. We thought the term "strange fruit" really could stand for someone who stood out in a crowd, a talent that was different and remarkable — in a good way."



Stan B said...

Wow. Just Wow. All it takes is one person to find a connection to a racial issue, and suddenly everyone is guilty until proven innocent. Now a PR firm should have googled the name "Strange Fruit" before they adopted it (you would think some trademark lawyer would have mentioned this, too), but innocent mistakes MUST be punished by accusations of racism and extraction of the pound of flesh.

I can say "pound of flesh" without being called racist because Othello was black, right?

Use the Name, Luke said...

Their explanation of what they thought the name represented in their minds makes sense to me. But I would think that a PR firm—whose expertise is supposed to be understanding and changing other peoples' minds—would be able to avoid such a flammable "guilt by association" name. This brouhaha doesn't speak well of their PR skills.


The "pound of flesh" was to be taken from a Jew. They are apparently fair game to the left-whiners.

Anonymous said...

Want to bet that if you asked 1000 black people in major American cities what "strange fruit" was they would not make this connection?


Anonymous said...

As the issue is about literary references, it might be in order to mention that the "pound of flesh" wasn't to be taken from, but wanted by, the Jew, and it was in the play 'The Merchant of Venice' not the different play 'Othello, the Moor of Venice'.

Anonymous said...

How about "tall poppy"? Down Under that means exactly what they say they were going for.

Unless that turns out to be offensive to those who are not short.

Bird of Paradise said...

Can anyone still remember those SAMBOS RESTRUANTS?

Use the Name, Luke said...

Anon 3:27,

You are correct. I did not remember it correctly.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure Stan and Luke that the 'pound of flesh' quote comes from the Merchant of Venice, not Othello, and the flesh was to come from a Christian at the demand of a Jew, and not from a Jew. Anon 3:27 is right.
Neither of which has anything to do with being racist.

Stan B said...

Anon 6:52 - Obviously you need a lesson in "Leftist Logic 101." Shakespeare, being white, wrote racially insensitive works, among them Othello, which advanced stereotypes of ethnic peoples. Therefore, all of his works are to be condemned and any reference to those works is to be avoided. It matters not whether the "pound of flesh" reference comes from the work Othello, the fact that Shakespeare (a man who was obviously racist because he was of Western European White descent) made use of it means it is to be condemned as a racist remark.

Just as calling a singularity from which no EM radiation can escape a "black hole," or "calling a spade a spade" are both racist remarks.

Isn't this a fun game?

Use the Name, Luke said...

I posted a comment yesterday that Anon 2:37 was right and I was wrong. That comment has gone missing. Is the spam filter being too aggressive?

slinky said...

"Spammers: Don't bother. Irrelevant comments will not be published"

I guess you are irrelevant spammer, Luke. Says so above.