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The Tragic MooLatte


Andrew Fenton
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Mulatto was the first thing I thought of when I saw that commercial. 

Me, too, and I was pretty surprised that they had chosen to call it that. But then, I also thought that the word "mulatto" was well within common parlance for most Americans.

Not necessarily, at least when it applies to the younger generation and I'll include all other racial groups in that generalization as well. This forum tends to be frequented by people who read and in most cases are well educated (sometimes formal education or in many cases self-taught). Those who read regularly, have an inquisitive nature and are attuned to cultural issues tend to be aware of the meanings of words that are no longer actively in use. Sadly, this is so often not the case with younger folks (I'd say those under age 30 - 35). I'll guess that my daughter and the majority of her friends (who are caucasian) as well as my girlfriend's sons and most of their friends (who are African-American) would scratch their heads a bit to try and remember what the word "mulatto" means (if in fact they even recognize it at all). These are all college students or grads in their early 20's but on so many issues they just don't have a clue because they don't read enough outside of required texts. Not making a judgement here, just an observation.

Give any of them the phrase "mixed-race" or "bi-racial" and they know. I'm not near a dairy Queen and haven't seen the ads but it does seem like a lot of flap over nothing significant.

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Good for you, Carolyn. Talk about taking matters into your own hands!

second read:

our hearts are pure

that's a bit over-dramatic and far-reaching, don't you think?

perhaps DQ = Drama Queens

Dude, what do you expect from a guy whose last name is "Spawn..." :laugh::laugh::blink:

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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DQ's "legal advisors" are giving them bad advice. It doesn't matter what the law is and it doesn't matter what a marketing survey demonstrates. The reality is that if a single African-American or civil rights organization takes a position saying that calling this light-brown-colored beverage "Moolatte" is offensive, then newspapers and broadcast media will soon follow with editorials and DQ will earn itself an undeserved reputation as a racist corporation that will last for, oh, thirty or so years. There was no wrong in naming the product Moolatte, but now that the linkage is clear it's a bad idea to stick with the name. There is no principle to be defended by keeping this name. Cut it loose and move on. That's what this "legal advisor" says.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I stopped by at DQ today and had a MooLatte -- its quite good, actually -- basically a coffee flavored version of the Mr. Misty Freeze, which is soft serve vanilla blended with ice slush and coffee-flavored syrup -- similar in flavor profile to other frozen cappuccino type drinks, such as the one served by Dunkin Donuts which was launched a few years ago.

DQ has obviously thrown a lot of money behind this product because it comes in a special clear MooLatte logo cup and they have promotional materials all over the DQ for it. Not sure if they synthesized their own coffee syrup or if they are getting an existing formula from a commercial supplier.

When I asked the kid who was making the drink if he was aware of the racial implications of the name, he had no idea until I explained to him that it sounded similar to a hispanic term meaning half white and half black.

BTW, there's a good WikiPedia entry on the word here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulatto

The Moolate comes in several flavors, including Cappucino (cinnamon on top), Mocha (chocolate sauce on top) and Vanilla (vanilla flavor added). I think if they want to hit the hispanic population with it, such as the Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban communities who are least likely to take offense with the term Mulatto and to put a positive spin on the connotation, then they should offer a Dulce de Leche flavor (pour caramel sauce over the whipped cream at the top)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I thought it was delicious, and we tried 2 of the 3 available flavors: mulatto and choctoroon, and we're looking forward to trying decafro.

(This is what DQ can look forward to until 2035 if it doesn't get this mess sorted out)

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't think there will be any outrage over it. It's a quaint term. When's the last time you heard anybody use it? It's not, as someone suggested, part of "common parlance".

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Mulatto was the first thing I thought of when I saw that commercial. 

Me, too, and I was pretty surprised that they had chosen to call it that. But then, I also thought that the word "mulatto" was well within common parlance for most Americans.

Not necessarily, at least when it applies to the younger generation and I'll include all other racial groups in that generalization as well.

I'm in my mid-20s and know what it means. How? Because there's a mountain and a road in my home county still named Mulatto Mountain. It just happens to be beside The Mountain Formerly Known as Nigger Mountain (name officially changed to Mt. Jefferson on Park Service maps circa 1957). I suppose Mulatto isn't offensive enough for the government to rename it. Anyway, I guess I asked what the word meant when I was a kid, because it seems like something I've always known the meaning of.

Anyway, even though I know the word, in fact looked at a re-paving document for the road last week (I work for the DOT), the name didn't strike me until I read this. I thought it was just a stupid name (and personally, I still think it's just that-a stupid name). In fact, I made a mental note that I would've tried the drink if it didn't have such a stupid name. I'm too embarassed to order something with a silly name like that. No Rooty-Tooty-Fresh-And-Fruities for me, thank you!

Gourmet Anarchy

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It's been a weird couple of days. Last night I was in the process of finding a copy of "My Old Kentucky Home" for a friend moving back there. And then I realized what the lyrics to the official state song were. Or at least what they were until 1986.

What the hell were they thinking?

Was there ever a requirement to think to be a represenative in the Kentucky state legislature? I've sure as hell seen no evidence of it in the NYS legislature.

As for Moolatte, I don't watch enough TV or visit enough DQs, at least not since my college days. When I hear "moo," I think "cow," when I hear "latte," I think of "milk." "Latte" is the Italian word for "milk." It's not the Italian word for a coffee drink, although "caffe latte" would get you coffee with milk much as "cafe au lait" or "cafe con leche" works elsewhere. For what it's worth, I have eaten in Mulate's in Breaux Bridge, but not the one in New Orleans or the one in Baton Rouge. It's a pretty touristy place, but what I mean to say is "what they hell were they thinking?" I guess they've just been laying in wait for the chance to sue the first guy to come out with a moolatte drink.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I don't think there will be any outrage over it. It's a quaint term. When's the last time you heard anybody use it? It's not, as someone suggested, part of "common parlance".

Unless you are in Alabama.... :hmmm::angry:

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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For what it's worth, I have eaten in Mulate's in Breaux Bridge, but not the one in New Orleans or the one in Baton Rouge. It's a pretty touristy place, but what I mean to say is "what they hell were they thinking?" I guess they've just been laying in wait for the chance to sue the first guy to come out with a moolatte drink.

Actually the name of that place is pronounced "MOO-LOTS"

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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For what it's worth, I have eaten in Mulate's in Breaux Bridge, but not the one in New Orleans or the one in Baton Rouge. It's a pretty touristy place, but what I mean to say is "what they hell were they thinking?" I guess they've just been laying in wait for the chance to sue the first guy to come out with a moolatte drink.

Actually the name of that place is pronounced "MOO-LOTS"

Actually it's MEW-lots. Like a cat. A hungry, irritating cat.

And it's the owners last name. I wouldn't call it a common last name, but it doesn't raise an eyebrow.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I don't think there will be any outrage over it.  It's a quaint term.  When's the last time you heard anybody use it?  It's not, as someone suggested, part of "common parlance".

Unless you are in Alabama.... :hmmm::angry:

Really, oops. :unsure: I'm from the northwest, I guess we're more sheltered here from people using racist terms.

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Moolatte story picked up by the Houston Chronicle's Kyrie O'Connor in the July 14 "MeMo," which in a bizarre coincidence also quotes me on a totally unrelated issue.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/memo/2681202

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't think there will be any outrage over it.  It's a quaint term.  When's the last time you heard anybody use it?  It's not, as someone suggested, part of "common parlance".

Unless you are in Alabama.... :hmmm::angry:

Really, oops. :unsure: I'm from the northwest, I guess we're more sheltered here from people using racist terms.

Yeah, there are times it can go weeks or months without someone being an ignorant skidmark around me, then some stranger in an elevator wants to tell you a joke.... Stupid.

I work in a university hospital. We have people from all over the world working here. And we all get along with each other, until some out-of-town bumpkin walking the halls starts yelling at the Chinese doctor to "speak english!" when he already was. I am constantly amazed at how stupid people are.

Sorry for the somewhat offtopic ramble, but this is mostly to say that these incidents are so rare that they stand out that much more. Like a Model T in Manhattan.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I thought it was delicious, and we tried 2 of the 3 available flavors: mulatto and choctoroon, and we're looking forward to trying decafro.

Dammit, I've been trying to come up with a joke along these lines for like three days. Also, I haven't tried the drink yet, but I will probably grab one tomorrow. Quick, before they get smart.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Come to think of it, I got royally chewed out once, when I was working in retail, because I used the phrase "rule of thumb."

You're boss should have been beaten with a stick. I suppose he or she expected all his/her employees to carry around dictionaries of cultural literacy. Next time that manager sees someone hold a door open for a woman, perhaps he/she will chastise them as the origin of that was to let the woman walk into a possible attack first in order to warn the man.

I wonder when they're going to reach the point of omitting coffee and just mix up a syrup, whipped cream, and half and half with sprinkles.

Now you're just talking about starbucks.

I thought it was delicious, and we tried 2 of the 3 available flavors: mulatto and choctoroon, and we're looking forward to trying decafro.

FG - Funniest thing I've ever seen you write.

When I hear "moo," I think "cow," when I hear "latte," I think of "milk." "Latte" is the Italian word for "milk."

Cow milk. What a concept. A lot sweeter than that chipmunk milk, and a lot faster to harvest.

I think the real story here is about the corporate culture at DQ. One guy didn't plan and launch this whole campaign. The idea must have come from some marketer, been approved by all levels of management, focus group testing, art review, advertising campaign planning. In all that time it is inconcievable to me that NO ONE had ever heard the term mulatto. And even if they weren't personally offended, in these hideously PC days they must have known someone might be.

I can't believe that DQ is full to the brim with white hood wearing racists who get their jollies naming milkshakes as near rhymes with dated terms. Rather, probably all of them enjoy being employed in this lousy economy and feared questioning a decision that had been made by some upper brass. I imagine a lot of people saying to coworkers "moolatte? seriously? huh, whatever. If the old man wants moo-lotto, let 'em have it."

The whole concept of dairy queen offends me as I am lactose intolerant. And the letter P offends me as well. I wish you would all refrain from using it.

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I think they could solve the whole problem by simply sticking two more oo s in the name to make it MooooLatte.

There could be no mistaking that it meant Moo as in cow and Latte as in milk.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I think they could solve the whole problem by simply sticking two more oo s in the name to make it MooooLatte.

Hire this woman for Marketing Director! Brilliant! Sometimes, the best solutions really are the "obvious" solutions no-one else can see in front of their faces. Are you listening, Dairy Queen?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I think they could solve the whole problem by simply sticking two more oo s in the name to make it  MooooLatte.

Hire this woman for Marketing Director! Brilliant! Sometimes, the best solutions really are the "obvious" solutions no-one else can see in front of their faces. Are you listening, Dairy Queen?

Nope. It doesn't accomplish what Jason (who trust me, is much shaper than he appears :biggrin: ) points out has to be a secret part of their agenda /planned reaction--avoiding having to throw away millions of dollars of existing promotional materials, cups, etc.

They are still thinking they can save money. And I imagine there would also be a huge wrangle between the central DQ corporation and the owner/operators of the franchises over who PAID for a recall of millions of promotional cups and signs.

They'll do it if and when it becomes clear that they HAVE to. Not before.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I think they could solve the whole problem by simply sticking two more oo s in the name to make it MooooLatte.

There could be no mistaking that it meant Moo as in cow and Latte as in milk.

I don't think the problem is that anyone is mistaking what they have in mind! It's just that the resemblance is highly unfortunate. It's not an insult on DQ's part; it's a gaffe.

"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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I think they could solve the whole problem by simply sticking two more oo s in the name to make it  MooooLatte. 

There could be no mistaking that it meant Moo as in cow and Latte as in milk.

I don't think the problem is that anyone is mistaking what they have in mind! It's just that the resemblance is highly unfortunate. It's not an insult on DQ's part; it's a gaffe.

I don't think this suggested "fix" is assuming any fault or intent from them. But I don't think it changes the fact that you'd have to spend money--swimming pools full of money--to recall all of those cups and posters. The extra O's won't just magically appear on the old materials. It's a "PR" solution which answers critics, so it might work for that, but it won't avoid the cost. And no doubt provoke a barrel-full of lawusits between DQ Corp. and franchise owners if DQ doesn't swallow the whole cost.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I don't think this suggested "fix" is assuming any fault or intent from them.  But I don't think it changes the fact that you'd have to spend money--swimming pools full of money--to recall all of those cups and posters.  The extra O's won't just magically appear on the old materials.  It's a "PR" solution which answers critics, so it might work for that, but it won't avoid the cost.  And no doubt provoke a barrel-full of lawusits between DQ Corp. and franchise owners if DQ doesn't swallow the whole cost.

I totally agree that it would fail to fix the cost problem. I just think it would also fail to fix the PR problem!

(Because the problem isn't that anyone is mistaken about the fact that it means "moo" as in cow and "latte" as in milk. It's that it also brings "mulatto" to mind, gaffe-ishly.)

Edited by redfox (log)

"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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In all seriousness, I'm sure the DQ strategy is ignore it and hope it will go away. Because there is a good chance it will. Likely the majority of their customers don't know the word or don't care. The ones who will get mad and shake their fists probably won't affect sales that much. And there will probably be some media attention, but I'm sure DQ is hoping it won't be much during this, an election year. There's lots of real news going on, there's a good chance this will blow over.

Who wants to take bets?

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