Column - The Adidas ‘Shackles’ may be ugly, but not racist
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 18:06
The German sports apparel company, Adidas, recently dodged a bullet.
Maybe they didn’t quite dodge a bullet as much as they decided not to fire one.
I’m referring to the line of shoes the JS Roundhouse Mids or "Shackles," which were due to be released in August by Adidas.
The high-top sneakers featured a bright colors and a retro style, but also featured rubber shackles designed to strap on to the wearer’s ankles.
"Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?" an Adidas caption read on its Facebook page.
The shoe company pulled the line before it was introduced because of the many comments and criticism it received. Many looked at the shoe as a connection to slavery.
"The attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our Constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive," Rev. Jesse Jackson said in a statement Monday.
It was a good move by Adidas to pull the line, but not because it was offensive – because it was a terrible design.
The shoe would have been the same as the "pumps" released by Nike in the early 90s. With just a few pumps of the basketball on the tongue of the shoe, you would increase the air in the sole, and in turn become a better basketball player.
At the time, everyone thought they were the coolest shoe on the market. But, thankfully most of America and the rest of the world realized they were ridiculous. Practicing makes you a better basketball player, not the shoes you wear.
While the designer of the "Shackles" wasn’t claiming the shoe would improve your game, he was hoping to create another fad – which is always short lived.
I should thank the rabble-rousers for that, at least.
But, should people really be up in arms over a shoe design?
It’s not like it was created by some radical group with a name for bigotry and hatred, it was created by a household name. I fail to believe designers for a company such as Adidas would intentionally be that offensive.
Those who connect the design of the shoe to American slavery do so on their own, not because it’s obvious. If anything, it looks like prison shackles rather than chains for slaves.
There is nothing about the design that makes a specific connection to it. It is just another reason for Rev. Jackson to put his face in the public’s eye and scream racism.
The shackles on the shoes could mean other measures of confinement, such as prison, or it could be a lame new style.
Regardless of what the intentions of the shoe’s design were, people need to be less sensitive. It’s just a shoe.
People should raise more hell over the price of shoes, rather than aesthetics of the ones being promoted.
You can make a connection to anything from anything if you look at it in the right light. The design could even be related to the Holocaust. It was a more recent event and the shoe was created by a German company.
With all the problems the world faces, shouldn’t a figure such as Rev. Jackson be fighting for a real cause?
My first thought of the shoes was "Wow, who would wear those," not racism, slavery or anything of the like.
We should never forget the atrocities of slavery. It was a deep and dark part of our past. But we shouldn’t dwell on it either.
No human being alive today really knows the horrors of slavery. The more people attempt to move on and progress, the better off we will all be.
Equal is equal – we should concentrate on that.
When we start living together as one and stop pointing fingers at what our ancestors did to each other, then we can live without hatred and bigotry.