Random Thoughts on the Addidas Shackle Sneakers

So everyone is all up in arms about these orange and blue Addidas sneakers designed by Jeremy Scott.  The controversy is that these shoes resemble foot shackles that were once used to bind slaves being transported from one place to another. 

I see exactly what people (black people specifically) are upset about.  They definitely do resemble slave shackles.  However I do see how the resemblance could’ve been unintentional.  According to CBS the shoes were inspired by a children’s toy called My Pet Monster.

As you can see the toy monster has the same color scheme as the controversial sneakers.  It’s definitely feasible that Jeremy Scott drew inspiration from this toy.  Also seeing as sneakers are so popular among the African American community it would seem like a terrible business idea to offend them intentionally.  On the other hand this wouldn’t be the first time a big name offended the African American community. Who remembers the whole Cristal not wanting to be associated with rap music fiasco?

To be honest I don’t know what to make of these sneakers.  On one hand I argue that one can’t expect anyone who isn’t African American to understand fully how an African American would see things.  Perception is everything in situations like these.  Two people could be looking at the exact same thing but have two completely different interpretations on what they’re looking at.  I’m pretty sure there are plenty people that would look at those sneakers and think about My Pet Monster.  Since slavery wasn’t their struggle shackles wouldn’t be the first thing to pop up in their minds. 

On the other hand I could argue that both the shoes AND the toy are offensive.  Yes I know the toy is blue but it’s still a dark shade of blue with black hands and feet with a huge nose and a huge smile sort of reminiscent of black face. 

Also of course it’s wearing the controversial shackles.  Let’s not forget slave shackles weren’t only worn on the feet. And let’s not forget that there was once a time where African American’s were seen as sub human, lacking intelligence, and prone to savage behavior (you know…like monsters).  Also they were bought, sold, and owned (you know…like pets).  It doesn’t stop there. I could go on and on.

This could either be a complete coincidence or a subtle reminder that racism is still alive and well.  I’m not sure which stance to take.  What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on the Addidas Shackle Sneakers

  1. I think it is ridiculous Adidas made these shoes. When you know your customer, you do think of what they are going to think of your product, that’s why they usually sell this good, so there are two options: either they are quite stupid and didn’t think of this, or they did think of it but thought no one would notice, which is very stupid as well.
    And there is one other point that is troubling me. It is well known that sneakers and other sportswear by brands like Adidas and Nike are made by children, or children labour is involved in the process. They are not slaves, but they live and work in horrible circumstances, and they are underpaid. Child labour should be prohibited, just as slavery is, and for Adidas to make this mistake is huge, not only didn’t they think of how touchy the subject of slavery still is (especially in America) but also does it represent circumstances that they, apparently, approve of. It is just revolting to me.

    http://manonheine.wordpress.com

  2. My mind is just blown right now..REALLY? I don’t see how these shackle sneakers are supposed to be cute. I agree wholeheartedly that both the toy and shoes are offensive. Why should children be playing with something that looks like its going to jail? What are they supposed to gain from that? There’s just no shame in promoting inappropriate toys for children anymore. No shame in being inappropriate anymore. Wow..I’m practically at a loss for words.

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