Adidas didn’t need to cancel their ‘shackle’ shoes. If people want to go around wearing shackles on their ankles, I say let ‘em! If they are smart enough NOT to buy them, the shoes would fail anyway. People spend too much time protesting products like these shoes. Meanwhile, what else is going on in the world that they AREN’T paying attention to?
Companies that make products for consumers are in the business to make money. I don’t need to tell you this. They will do whatever is necessary to maximize their profits. If they think people will buy it, they’ll manufacture it at pretty much any cost–except for really bad PR that is. So, it is with this understanding that we must approach the pressures of consumerism and the retail market.
Many folks, including a lot of the Black blogosphere, were really incensed by the gall of Adidas to sell such a shoe. In their minds, there was something totally unacceptable about marketing a shoe with a chain and ankle cuffs connected, in a country with a history of slavery.
So what did they do? Raise hell until the company announced that they were canceling the shoes. While this may seem like an effective strategy, they could have one-upped themselves by letting Adidas make the shoe, then refuse to purchase them. This way, not only would the company not gain profits, they’d actually lose money on all the inventory they didn’t sell.
Taking such an approach would give the would-be protester time to dedicate themselves to a cause which is actually worthy–like one that works to eliminate suffering, strife, war, and death in this country and around the world.
At the end of the day, stopping the sale of the “shackle” shoes doesn’t remedy the mindset of the person who would actually purchase and wear such a shoe. It won’t prevent Adidas from attempting to market an equally offensive shoe at some point in the future.
And here’s another thought… What if the shoe didn’t have Black people in mind? Should everyone be barred from such fashion simply because it offended some Blacks? To be honest though, both you and I know there are some Black folks who are disappointed that they won’t be able to buy a pair.
When Heit (my co-host on The Axiom Axiom Amnesia Theory) and I were discussion this, his official statement was as follows:
What I would do is allow Adidas to release the shoe, and not buy them. Wouldn’t it be sort of ironic, or comedic relief, to see the many white folks parading around in shackles? A new Internet meme could be created simply by posting pictures of all the white people who actually paid for their shackles.
So I’ll leave you with this question… What about the shackles on your brain?