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The GEM Debate: Shackle Shoes… REALLY Adidas?

UPDATE: According to CNN, Adidas has scrapped plans for these shoes. Wonder how much that cost them?

Upon seeing this, Good Enough Mother had to take a deeper breath than usual and you know how much that pained me. Some ultra-bright creative type came up with these shoes, shackle shoes and convinced themselves that they would be a big seller. Not only did they convince themselves, they were able to get someone in upper management to sign off on them. I wonder if they’ll have jobs much longer?

Now some of you might think I’m being overly sensitive. Maybe. But part of the African American experience in this country is that there are things that immediately make the hair on the back of your neck, stand on end, given our inauspicious beginning in this country. Among those; a noose swinging from a tree, burning crosses with sheet-clad individuals standing nearby and shackles.

Shackles, whether metal or yellow rubber, whether attached to ripped up bare feet or expensive athletic shoes, are strongly symbolic. Think enslaved, unable to move, held in place. Is that the kind of message you want for shoes? Aren’t they supposed to power you to perform better as opposed to keep you confined? Man, this is so head scratching I’m not even sure where to start.

Of course, Adidas says the shoes have nothing to do with racism, that they are merely the collaboration between the German company and designer, Jeremy Scott.

And you know something? I believe them; I do not think believe the company, in its collaboration with Scott did  this overtly. But I do fault them for being insensitive.

This and so many examples illustrate why diversity is critical for companies. I’m not talking about putting a black or brown face, or a gay or lesbian on boards so you look good in the annual report to shareholders. This is about empowering people, all people, to stand up and say, “Um, hey, yo… this is not such a great idea.”

Okay your turn. Shackle shoes as a statement, good idea or no? Was this a misstep by the shoe giant or something more sinister? Lemme hear ya!

More from GEM:

Our Story Begins: Discrimination and Determination: What I Learned In The House Of The Sheik

Ask The Good Enough Guy: My Job Is KILLING Me!

Happy Birthday Baby Boy! 5 Really Cool Things I Love About My Son


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