Stupid looking? YES. Racist? NO.

Courtesy of the National Post blog:

Adidas has dropped its plans for a sneaker with a shackle-like ankle cuff after critics complained the shoes were racist and reminiscent of slavery.

The JS Roundhouse Mid, a high-topped sneaker that featured an orange plastic cuff, was a collaboration with American fashion designer Jeremy Scott. Scott has built a reputation on eccentric designs for celebrities such as Britney Spears, Kanye West, Rihanna and Bjork.

While Adidas did scrap the shoe, they initially defended it, saying it “is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery.”

They promoted the shoe with the line: “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?

It was to go on sale in August for US$350.

OK, I may not be the best guy to determine fashion when it comes to sneakers, and the first reason is: I still call them ‘sneakers’. But I can tell you that calling footwear which costs $350/pair “racist and reminiscent of slavery” is so stupid I am stuttering as I type.

The cuff is plastic, people. And orange. Orange! It’s reminiscent of “props my 4-year old uses when playing cops and robbers”, ….not slavery. The shirt I’m wearing is made from cotton: is THAT “reminiscent of slavery“, too?

Lord Above, please deliver me from the professionally aggrieved.


Amazingly, this isn’t the only “sneaker outrage” of the year: everyone wants in on the act.

From about a month ago:

Chances are you won’t be wearing your “Black and Tan” Nike sneakers when you toast to St. Patrick’s Day this weekend.

Why? Because Nike has decided to change the unofficial name of its new shoe after an Irish kerfuffle erupted over the sneaker’s handle.

If the marketing folks at Nike had done a quick Google search on the term they would have found that Black and Tan does not just refer to a drink that combines a pale ale beer and a dark beer. It also applies to the Black and Tans, who were a British paramilitary force that smothered an Irish uprising in the 1920s.

“It would be the American equivalent of calling a sneaker ‘the al-Qaeda,’” stated a story about the shoe controversy in the, one of the largest Irish-American news sites.

Gee, am I glad that the Irish are finally catching up in the “who-can-be-offended-more” sweepstakes. They were really getting left behind up ’til now.

So, it’s acceptable that a beer is named after this open wound on Irish hearts, but not a gym shoe? Does that not seem to lend itself to more than a couple fairly easy Irish jokes?

Maybe it’s just me.


So, we have sneakers that ‘remind’ people of an uprising which I’ll wager 95% of the country has never heard of, and we have other sneakers whose orange plastic cuff has them reliving an experience …which they never experienced. What is wrong with us? Author/pundit Mark Steyn is fond of saying that our society today doesn’t need ‘sensitivity’ training but insensitivity training — that’s to say, thicker skins.

While I agree with his sentiment, my own pet theory as to why this is happening seemingly more than ever (and I may be totally wrong, but hear me out) is the increased number of one-child homes in society today.  Think about it: when you have a sibling, not to mention 2 or 3, no one (and I mean NO one) gets under your skin better or more often. And after 18 years of being deliberately and repeatedly offended, this other stuff doesn’t even rise to a level worth noticing.

Nothing inoculates someone against being thin-skinned like having brothers or sisters.

Regardless of the reason, we need to get over ourselves if we’re to survive, as a country and as a society. It’s no wonder we can’t deal with the world’s issues properly, if “Sneaker-Gate” is what occupies our attention.

By using up all of our emotional energies on these pseudo-virtual, let’s-pretend outrages, we simply don’t have any actual outrage left.

30 responses to “Stupid looking? YES. Racist? NO.

  1. And once again I point to the media, who report on this inanity, rather than letting it die a quiet anonymous death. Let’s fuel outrage over pricey plastic sneakers, and they won’t notice the robocops hovering over the mall…

  2. Kia hooked me in 2009 when they launched the Soul with those hamster commercials:

    Later versions of the commercial featured “hood rat” hamsters hanging out on “Hamsterdam Avenue” and were pulled after being deemed racist by professional grievance-mongers.

    I now own a Soul. Does that make me a racist?

    • Based upon my observations in cases like this, I would have to guess ‘yes’, Buckkeye.

      After all, it has been explained on TV, in print, and in colleges across America that racism can be deliberate, latent and/or occur sub-consciously. Thus, you have no control if you do something which is racist: it’s up to the race-arbiters of the world to make that determination of you.

      Isn’t that a great system???!!!

  3. So. if anything any of us does or says or thinks can be deemed racist at any time, we shouldn’t need to worry about it, right?

  4. Look at the bright side of this, it’ll make it harder to steal them right off your feet.

    • Good point, Phoebes!
      Heck, make it an actual lock, like the kind Samsonite used to include on your luggage.

      Of course, that was before the Homeland Security/Shopping Act outlawed you locking your luggage, since it prevented the TSA from browsing through (aka: stealing) your personal belongings.

  5. LivinRightinPGH

    When did the Klan buy Adidas?

    I was just contemplating the other day with how my roast beef on white bread struck me as a “racist sandwich”……that “lunch meat of color”, painfully trapped between two oppressive pieces of white bread.

    YEP! Racism IS everywhere.

    I’m baaaaccccck! Sorry for the absence, but that “work” thing and travel have a way of getting in the way.

    • PGH! Great to see you again —
      Thought you were dead, bro….

      And the ability to be offended is indeed everywhere, but only when we allow it to be.
      There are things out there which most people would agree are offensive: $350 plastic-&-velcro sneakers should simply not be included in that list.

      • LivinRightinPGH

        The rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated!

        The bottom line for me is that some people are just LOOKING to be offended, and like the roast beef sandwich story, will find a reason to be offended, regardless of the absurdity. This is why I REFUSE to acquiesce to PC speech.

        Remember: Political correctness is the absurd belief that you can pick up a turd by the clean end.

        • As do I, PGH.

          I stil recall that a buddy of mine was told to take down a picture he had of (then current) President Bush, on the grounds that someone in the office may be offended. When my buddy told our mutual boss that he ALWAYS had a picture of the current president (and he does, to this day), he was told, “but we have to consider what some people might think”.

          That sort of mental gymanstics would have everyone tongue-tied, forever.

          I never go out of my way to offend anyone, just for the sake of it. But I’ll be darned if I’m going to censor my speech to that degree, for fear of “someone” finding offense in something I may say.

          My father taught me to think about what you’re gonna say a time or two, and if it still seems like a good idea, go ahead.
          If someone is still offended by it, it’s probably their fault, not yours.

  6. Pingback: What is truly ‘Offensive’… « Two Heads are Better Than One

  7. I, the offended, feel very offended that you, the offendee, has the audacity to be offended because you offended me and I dared tell you that you offended me. Your turn!

    • Ok, …..I, the offender of the offendee, did not mean to offend, but that doesn’t mean…
      ….wait a sec, which one am I again?
      I’m too confused to be offended.

      Of course, I apologize in advance if you find my confusion offensive.

  8. I confused myself. lol You are both the offender and offendee since you offended me then were offended because I said I was offended so therefore that makes you the offender because you offended me and the offendee because I offended you. I guess we’re both offenders and offendees which makes me offended because I didn’t offend you, it was all in your mind.

  9. I’m offended by my own offensiveness…

    OK, time to go check out what everyone else wrote today.
    I have limited time and a whole internet to offend!

    It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it…

  10. So this Irishman walks OUT of a bar…no really, it could happen. 😉

  11. Pingback: Just in case you forgot: “If you oppose #Obamacare, you’re a big, fat, smelly Racist…” | Two Heads are Better Than One

  12. Pingback: Everything, …Every. Single. Thing…, is now Racist | Two Heads are Better Than One

  13. Pingback: If you eat breakfast, you’re probably a racist | The Isaiah 53:5 Project

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