adidas chile Are Adidas’ new basketball shoes racist
It’s not exactly a stretch to see how one could feel that way. Shackles and chains have long been used in the media as iconographic shorthand for the American slave trade, notably in advertising for the classic television mini series “Roots” and the upcoming Quentin Tarantino revenge flick Django Unchained.
On his blog Your Black World, Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University calls the shoes reminiscent of “the stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable.”
Adidas, which sponsors African American athletes in every major professional sport,
says the shoe “is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion, and has nothing to do with slavery.”
The statement adds: “Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted and his previous shoe designs for Adidas Originals have, for example, included panda heads and Mickey Mouse.”
Philadelphia area sneaker enthusiast Mike Meech describes the shoes as part of a niche market of eccentric kicks.
“Jeremy Scott designed a pair of Adidas with gorillas where the tongue is are those racist?” Meech said. “The fact is,
this ‘controversy’ will probably just make the sneakers more popular. I’m sure Adidas is thrilled with the free promotion.”
Another local sneaker enthusiast, Kofi Biney, said he wasn’t offended by the shoe “in the slightest.”
“It’s manufactured outrage,” Biney said. “The designer even said that [the shoe] was based off a 90s cartoon called My Pet Monster.”
Although Scott hasn’t said it outright,
Biney is correct that the designer has made allusions to the purple and orange plush doll that comes with a pair of orange handcuffs.
Let’s set aside the controversy for a moment and consider the rest of the shoe. It’s not all that great to look at: a mess of purple and gray suede and rubber with orange accents on the tops, sides, tongue, and eyelets. And then there’s the orange rubber cuff.
and when released, it will retail for $350.
So ignoring the controversy, ignoring the inspiration, and ignoring the price,
Meech was asked if he would buy the shoe.