Athletic shoemaker Adidas has created a new shoe that has many people up in arms. The German sneaker company has teamed up with designer Jeremy Scott to create the “The JS Roundhouse Mid”. These sneakers are stirring up a lot of controversy because of the s bright orange plastic shackles that are attached to them. These shackles connect to the shoe and are meant to be wrapped around the ankles.
Many folks are up in arms about these shoes because they feel that it references a time in history when slaves were chained and shackled to each other. Adidas on the other hand doesn’t feel that their shoes are representing anything other than a fashion statement by the designer. The tagline for the sneaker reads “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles”. They would like for consumers to believe that there is no correlation between the sneakers and anything other than Jeremy Scott’s ”quirky and lighthearted” design style.
I must admit when I look at the shoes, slavery is not the first thing that jumps out at me. Unlike a lot of people, I actually think it is a reach to say that the shoe was designed with the intent to reflect slaves being transported to America with shackles around their ankles. There is no denying that the horrific part of slavery where slaves had to wear shackles around their ankles actually took place. But similar to the “planking’ controversy that arose a few months ago, I think that we’re missing the mark by trying to compare those apple to these oranges.
What I DO think is going on is an attempt to desensitize our youth to prison culture. We all have witnessed how the “sagging“ phenomenon has infiltrated our every day life. That trend is something that started in prisons around the country as a way for inmates to know who was interested in sexual intercourse with other inmates of the same sex. Now it is virtually impossible to go anywhere and not see a young person ”sagging their pants”. So I am going to assume that the thought process of the folks over at Adidas was based on the fact that since young people have adapted a part of jail culture already that it would be a natural transition for them to pick up another facet of prison life. I mean hey, all young black men love the idea of ending up in prison at some point in their life right….Riiiiiiiight! So why not add another element to the jail house uniform and market it to African American boys and men because that’s the cool thing to do nowadays?
Listen family, here is the thing. Don’t let these marketing “geniuses” allow your kids to think that anything associated with prison life is cool because it’s not. There is nothing cool about having a shackle around your ankles. Whether its actually being incarcerated or walking around with a house arrest bracelet on your leg, there is nothing good about about being confined by shackles. This is just another ploy by a major corporation to take advantage of young impressionable minds.
As a parent all I can say is that when it comes to these sneakers and your children is just DON’T do it…
WOULD YOU LET YOUR KIDS WEAR THESE SHACKLE SHOES?
UPDATE 06/19/12 10:44AM Adidas has announced that they will NOT be releasing the JS Roundhouse Mid due to the controversy surrounding the shoe’s release.