Ok granted…compared to some of my counterparts
I’m the geek in the room who the “dumb blond” jokes are directed at
I get it and to be honest… it’s ok
I’m the one in the room that doesn’t instantly get offended by terminologies, jokes or articles that incite calls of stereotypes and racial inferences ….until I’ve read the original article for myself and not just the article that reference the articles that referenced the original writer…. I look at the intent, the situations, the meaning….all that.
It’s my thing and I’m good with it.
My mother taught me to think for myself and not to rely solely on others interpretations of information as my frame of reference.
Thanks Ma (please excuse that one time when I thought that Monsanto actually owned Pepperidge Farms but instead possibly supply the feed for the cows that make the butter for my favorite Chessman Cookies)
oops….uh yeah let’s move on
I’ll admit that when I first saw Jeremy Scott’s design for Adidas, I immediately thought of how it made young men comfortable with being handcuffed, locked up and imprisoned.
THAT bothered me, to know that a designer would use such a blatant reference of our legal system as a ploy to sell shoes and by that means make it okay for a person to think it nothing more than a fashion statement when being handcuffed by law enforcement. Unconsciously versed rappers have been doing it for years (glamorizing jail as some sort of badge of honor or means of ascension to manhood).
I get it, it’s dumb, but I get it.
The idea of “shackle shoes” really didn’t occur to me until I saw it splashed across the headers of every article and tweet I came across later in the day.
I know I know but I told you I’m THAT one in the group…..you thought I was joking didn’t you
I’ma geek, a cultural anthropology student geek but a geek none the less
Now as I read the adverse comments and jeers at Mr. Scott’s design I was struck by the litany of visceral comments and the wounds it opened. I got to thinking about what the design would mean in an overall commentary on race, society and cultural identity. Media's continual need to readdress issues that have hovered over their personhood all their life and to see it played out as a fashion statement was more than a little insensitive, let’s just be honest.
I told you I’m a geek dammit….live with it, I do
Alright let’s fast forward to my perusing the news this AM where Adidas realized that the money it would cost them within their core demographic market was more than just a notion.
They were willing to go with the “nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery …” comment until the 18-34 age group started getting involved….let’s just say that statement they put out was more of a thought than an actual rebuttal. They were looking forward to having Bill Maher use them as a discussion topic because it would mean sales would be a jumping and Jeremy would be touted on the lips of bloggers and haters across the web until the August drop date where the cash registers and online purchases would sing happily to their investors.
Oops... did my inside voice get out again
Not so much
I saw the fires burning; saw the wagons circling and I watched as people went back and forth and I went without really commenting because I was too engrossed at how to me they were missing the point….
I read Styleite this morning and one of their new bloggers weighed in
I am NOT a fashionista in fact fashionista’s send out the butch looking burkinstock crew to hold me down and dress me up because I offend with my mismatched socks, colors, no name brand jeans, outdated sandals….let’s just saw I’m reinventing my style
I have none…
but my dream is to look like Kimora Lee Hounsou on a good hair day but more bohemian but I’m sure I wouldn’t be in the Fabulousity cool kids group just because I’m really not coordinated enough…
okay so like...the Styleite blogger was pretty thorough in citing her ideas and point of view even if to me it was a little condescending to the plight of Blacks and the struggle we’ve had during these 400+ years as Americans but hey she’s a white chick with counter views and I’m not.
But one word struck me more than any of the other 700 she used to express herself “…it’s going to look like they’re either in prison or indentured in some way. And that’s not a good look, no matter what race you are.
Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines Indenture as the following;
1. a(l): a document or section of a document that is indented
2. a formal or official document usu. executed in two or more copies
3. a contract binding one person to work for another for a given period of time – often used in pl.
b. a formal certificate (as an inventory or voucher) prepared for purposes of control
c. a document stating the terms under which a security (as a bond) is issued
The blogger had managed in a matter of moments to equate my heritage with an appointment of position. That is what ultimately indentured is….you are given a position from which you are released upon repayment of debt to the holder.
Our great grandparents had no debt to be repaid.
They were cheap labor and considerably far removed from anything familiar to them.
They’re language, history, culture, traditions, identity were forcibly removed from them by brainwashing, violence and time.
They were not given their freedom at the end of a contractual agreement.
They were held and bound by someone else’s view deeming them inhuman and used accordingly until death or sold at their discretion.
Their children, wives, husbands, brothers, mothers, sisters were sold away forever in most cases because someone decided to when it suited their needs, opportunity or their family situation.
They were fodder for someone else’s table and they were released not because these people deemed them human or had a change of heart but because the system was no longer supportive to the plan originally drafted. They were left to fend for themselves in many cases without education or payment. They gained rights because they fought and died for them.
Today they are still reversing years of accepted mentality that have equated their presence with pain and subhuman indifference.
So to tell me it was indentured servitude negates the very essence of what the long lasting effects of the problem have been….
disregard for the plight of those whose pain still remains.
That sweetheart is not indentured THAT IS SLAVERY
1. drudgery, toil
2. submission to a dominating influence
3. a the state of a person who is a chattel of another
b. the practice of slaveholding
The sneakers that Jeremy Scott introduced to Adidas wasn’t the only problem… the problem was that not a single person at Adidas cared what message they were sending to a culture of people within in this society.
It wasn’t that Adidas didn’t expect backlash, they just didn’t care, they touted Mr. Scott’s brain child with the fervor of a new and inventive design that was cutting edge and would generate buzz to push the market trend in their favor. I know there are Blacks who work for Adidas but none of them stood up and made a choice to protest a blatant reproach of their ancestry or the societal problems where men, young men, boys are deemed chattel for the industrial prison complexes being built yearly by corporations to fill in the gaps of loss revenue streams.
And for you to dismiss the history and lives of people like Malik el hajj Shabazz or Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass, Denmark Vesey, Ida Wells Barnett and countless others by stating that these people were indentured servants implies a choice by which they earned a right to decide their fate when in fact they were murdered, raped and tortured if they even thought of challenging the idea.
I will not allow you to dismiss my heritage with such a clearly uneducated word usage.
I am not easily riled by the mention of such appeals for social boycotts and feigned anger because I don’t give them that much credit but I will dispute anyone’s impression that we need to get over slavery and move on….no matter what color they are.
Tell that to Jews and Asians who continually remind us to respect their dead and their ancestry and their struggles. Ours is no less painfilled and no less important and for Adidas, Scott and people like you to whittle it down to servitude or fashion’s cutting edge is unconscionable.
I don’t have to prove to you that what you do hurts me….but I do have to prove to you that I will not allow you to hurt me.
I may be the geek in the room but I’m damn good at it when it counts.
To those reading this blog entry: for purposes of protest, I will not refer to the blogger by name but reference the site in which they appear only …she’ll get enough views on her own, I refuse to add to it.
Causes Mya Speeks Supports
The Leeway Foundation