Racist Sneakers? Nigga, Please. . .

Posted: June 18 @ 1:00pm by 610 in Bolivian

[Daily Mail]  Adidas has sparked outrage and been accused of ‘promoting slavery’ by creating a new pair of trainers which have bright orange ‘shackles’ that fit around the wearer’s ankles. The clothing giant is under fire for its August scheduled release of the JS Roundhouse Mids, which many have compared to the devices worn by black slaves in 19th Century America. The seemingly innocent promotional material, uploaded to Facebook earlier this month, asks: ‘Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?’ But the shoes have sparked angry debate online, with many saying there is a more cynical tone to the advertisement. More than 2,000 people have labelled the design ‘offensive’ and ‘ignorant’ and say the firm has ‘sunk to new lows’ in its ‘slavewear’ product. Dr Boyce Watkins, writing for Your Black World,  said: ‘Shackles. The stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable. ‘Most of which were never documented in the history books and kept away from you in the educational system, all so you’d be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it.’ The Professor at Syracuse University said he accepted some people would accuse him of overreacting. But he added: ‘There is always a group of negroes who are more than happy to resubmit themselves to slavery. ‘I’m offended by these shoes as there is nothing funny about the prison industrial complex, which is the most genocidal thing to happen to the black family since slavery itself.’ Others have likened the shoes’ orange ‘bracelets’ to the shackles worn by prisoners across the America, or said the firm is ‘promoting slavery’. Facebook user Kay Tee agreed, and said: ‘It’s offensive and inappropriate in many ways. Not to mention ugly. ‘Regardless if the company was saying the shoes are so hot you have to chain them to you, or they were capitalising on the whole prison style popularity. ‘But corporate business has a social responsibility above all to consider these perceptions before releasing a product like this. ‘How would a Jewish person feel if they decided to have a shoe with a swastika on it and tried to claim it was OK in the name of fashion?’

I get it.  Shackles are shackles, and these are shackles.  It just so happens that, while Abe Lincoln was still at war with vampires and had yet to free the slaves, blacks were in fact shackled.  There are parallels, no doubt.  But c’mon.  I’m not saying we should all act as if slavery never happened and prejudice is no longer prevalent, but maybe Dr. Boyce Watkins should exercise a little selectivity in picking battles. They’re sneakers.  All creeds, colors, shapes and sizes wear them.  So I’m not sure how this is a jab at African-Americans.  If you find something offensive, it’s your choice to partake.  Like Watkins said, “…there is always a group of negroes who are more than happy to resubmit themselves to slavery.”  Whose problem is that?  You don’t like ’em, don’t wear ’em.  Common sense says they’re hideously ugly and, quite frankly, unsafe.  If I’m getting beat up for my kicks, I sure as shit don’t want to have to endure 10 more minutes of punishment and broken ankles because I got them locked to my shins.  But blatantly racist because they promote slavery is pushing it.  Does that mean black people can’t use shovels or cotton balls too?

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