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?