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by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World
I literally froze up when I saw a new design from Adidas set to hit stores in August. JS Roundhouse Mids, are purple and gray, with HANDCUFFS that wrap around the ankles. Yes, I said handcuffs…shackles….the stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable, most of which were never documented in the history books and kept away from you in the educational system, all so you would be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it.
I laughed when I saw the shoes, because I already know how many people are going to say, “Boyce, why are you overreacting?” There is always a group of negroes who are more than happy to resubmit themselves to slavery. In fact, commercialized hip-hop culture teaches black men everything they need to know in order to guarantee their own self-destruction (stay high/drunk, carry a gun, sleep with every woman that moves, remain uneducated and waste your money). We follow instructions very well.
First, we get to watch black kids shoot one another over $200 Air Jordans that cost $12 to make. Then, we get to watch people stand in line for a week to buy a pair of Air Yeezys. Now, we get to watch black men willingly put shackles on their ankles because they think it’s cool to do so. T’his is even worse than when Red Bull held a basketball tournament where free men would play against one another at various prison locations around the country.
When I see the shoes, I also think about the ankle bracelets being worn by far too many men who are affected by the mass incarceration epidemic that the White House says nothing about. The black family has ripped itself apart because so man of our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons are locked away in prison, leading their children vulnerable to all the horrible things that happen when the man of the house is not away. I am offended by these shoes because there is nothing funny about the prison industrial complex, which is the most genocidal thing to happen to the black family since slavery itself.
As they say, “an educated mind makes you unfit for slavery.” But Adidas, like Nike, understands that there are plenty of uneducated minds that are quite willing to go along with this kind of ridiculous stuff. You won’t see me or my kids wearing any of this stuff, and I hope your kids won’t either. Chains on our ankles are bad enough; but we must also get rid of the chain on our brains.