Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just Do Indians

Nike has decided that there is an Indian foot. One that can be put into a Nike trainer called the Air Native N7!

It is reported that "(t)he Beaverton-based company says the Air Native N7 is designed with a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians, and has a culturally specific look."


Nike says "it is the first time it has designed a shoe for a specific race or ethnicity." And it gathered its understanding that Native feet are different from a study group of 200 folks!

Furthermore, "(t)he design features several 'heritage callouts' as one product manager described it, including sunrise to sunset to sunrise patterns on the tongue and heel of the shoe. Feather designs adorn the inside and stars are on the sole to represent the night sky."

Now you know Eugene of PudgyIndian2 blog is pissed. And rightfully so.

What the hell is Nike doing selling race essentialist nonsense under the guise of helping out 'American Indians' to get healthy? And doing so in an openly racist manner.

We have been here before have we not? Black people run faster. White people have larger brains. And now, Indians have big feet that don't fit any of the other 'race-feet' profiles.

Of course Nike has a rationalization for this capitalist induced racism. The purpose of this shoe is to 'help' Indians and not to make money.

Eugene you need to see this to be a kind of reparation, my brother. They stole your land, killed almost all of your people, but hey, you get a pair of Nike's at a substantially reduced price.

The report says that Nike "anticipates selling at least 10,000 pairs and raising $200,000 for tribal programs. At $42.80 wholesale, it represents less of a financial opportunity than a goodwill and branding effort."


A "goodwill and branding effort" ...? Why the hell don't they just launch a logo too? How about a fat diabetic Indian on a horse with feathers and wearing a t.shirt that reads "Just Do Indians"?

That's branding right? The 'straight-arrow' kind that reduces Indians to real victims. And the kind that ignores what happened to Indians when the white man/woman landed on them.

I cannot believe this story. It is the same kind of racism that has John Howard working to make Aboriginals more 'responsible' citizens in Australia.

This is the white man/woman's burden in 2007. Step in and save the 'natives' from themselves. You know how self-destructive they are, right?

This Nike campaign is premised on an historical racist thievery that cannot just be ignored.

Nike is seeking to profit on a racist pathology that images Indians into a subjected and destructive people. A people who need a helping hand from a greedy giant corporation who will nontheless ruthlessly exploit workers in southeast Asia to make these shoes.

When is this crap gonna end? And when are sell-outs like the ones quoted in this article going to stop enabling racists to stand on the backs of Native people?

I think we need to demonstrate the racism inherent in this Nike campaign.


'Cause you know we ain't free!


The Angryindian has reposted this article with the following comment:

"The hell with Nike, they use slave labour. So in my book, Nike is a worthless slave-using and abusing gaggle of corporate bastards who should be talking to the United Nations and the World Court.

I also say to hell with anyone who wants to work with them. Even if they happen to be Indians.

Are we that starved for attention from White people and acceptance in the White man's world that we are so willing to allow them to use us to peddle their Aboriginal-made foot coverings? Where is the pride in being Native walking the Ho stroll in these racially-baiting track shoes? Special shoes for Indian feet?

Any Skin spending money on these is either ignorant of the history of Nike or is just another blinded White-man's-Injun seeking to hang around the fort with impeccable style. May your feet bring you discomfort until you wake up from your colonialist daze."

You said it right brother!



Dione said...

This is very interesting, also since it’s the first time I’m hearing about it. Perhaps it’s from working in retail land and not being able to stomach any other news when I get home..

Anyway, I'm curious how Nike felt they could get away with this. Maybe it’s because of USING a Native person in their advertisement. I have never heard of an issue of Native American's having larger feet, but I am familiar with other commercial race issues such as the African American athlete issue that you mentioned. Considering whats acceptable, I ask when will we see African American male underwear with larger stereotypical jock sizes. Who wouldn't want to buy that? I can see an epidemic!!!! If you’re not at the store buying this kind, then it must mean you’re not a big boy. :) I can see the millions rolling in, hurry up at the patent office, I’ll cya over there.
In the mean time, when Nike decides to make the Air wap, id like to know about it, immediately since this shoe will be made to accommodate small feet, that are wide and flat, and this is a real problem from some of us garlic eaters. The air wap for women should be advertised by a Sicilian woman affected with this issue, who also will claim that by running with the air wap, then you can catch up to that African American male with the large jock size out on your morning run so that you may have a nice evening. This ofcourse digs into more stereotypes, but that wouldn't be so hard to believe again, concidering!

Rhonda said...

Hey, I'm right now wearing a New Balance 8W - that's right W, so I guess it's OK for Nike to brand us as having wide feet....

Also, did you KNOW that in the Body Worlds display (the idea of which I find REPUGNANT)one of the,uh, cadavers, is holding a NIKE ball?

If Nike really wanted to be philanthropic, ask:

How about paying living wages to all who produce Nikes?
How about not trashing the environment?
How about not charging so much for the products?
How about moving green industry to produce reasonably-priced footwear onto the reservations, paying a living wage with health benefits?

Right, Nike is just full of good will, isn't it?

Ridwan said...

Dione thanks for your comment. Trust all is well with you.


Ridwan said...

Rhonda I have to agree with you ... Nike sucks.

I did not see the Body Works display, thankfully. You are right, it is sick.

And now even more sick with the association of Nike.

Be well my sista.


Dione said...

I agree with Rhonda as well. However, this is not a new topic, everyone complains about Nike. What are we going to do about it??? People have to boycott, and when I bring it up, then I hear about how those poor factory people who are not getting a fair wage are atleast getting a wage, where there is no work. If you buy those excuses, continue to buy nike, if not then.. lets see.

Vox said...

Dione's right. I wonder if Nike would react to a letter-writing campaign asking them to offer jobs on reservations? Since they are promoting a philanthropic image when it comes to reservations, and are selling the shoes at cost, will they be willing to back it up?

Ridwan said...

Vox you and Dione raise a good point(s) no doubt.

I think there needs to be some level of reaction to this campaign.

I expect though that Nike will likely point out that the 'res' is off limits for this or the other regulation.

Still, it may be a way to go ... some sort of challenge is needed.


Dione said...

Yea, is Nike going to donate some of its profits to Native Charities? I know Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to get rid of casinos. Maybe Nike can step in and provide the jobs and the money that they would greatly loose if Casinos are banned in California. On the other hand, if Nike is going to profit from race, then they need to support the people. If Nike had done that, we have to admit, that we still would have complained :) but, I could get behind a campaign that, if really and truly was designed to help people and supported them too.
In the mean time, I'm not buying any Nike because I’m tired of this shit, and by the way.. don’t think your “vote” isn’t making a difference, because sadly people always want what other people have. Believe me I know, I’m in the business of selling luxury items.. Hmm get the point though, if you don’t like it, maybe others will see how stupid a swoosh is! I’ll bet a swoosh would sound like a people who are getting ripped off.

Eugene said...

There is gonna be a cracker rally here in town in early October. I called out to them on the air yesterday to rally and riot in front of Niketown in Beaverton. I mean...WHAT THE FUCK!? Phil has folks design a shoe for a lesser niggers...but not for the master race. WHAT THE FUCK?!

I was thinking the could design a shoe for whitey, call it the MR1, Master Race 1, because there can be only one master race. They could have a burning cross on the outside, a swastika on the inside, a confederate flag on the heel, the left could be signed by the mayor of Jena, the right by David Duke. They could be nicknamed to Duke's of Nike. Huh? What do you think, Phil? I mean you, Phil, are one of theres, right? Why didn't you even think of your peeps?

I also mentioned that these particular whities believe it is striking fear and using violence that makes them superior. In that case, I would have to say the lesser race in Burma, the Burmese Military is a far superior race than they. They are killing unarmed monks.

The U.S. military is repeatedly murdering unarmed Iraqi's, many of them are people of color. That would be superior to these wannabee terrorists.

Oh well, at least we Red Niggers have the great Phil and the great Paul Watson looking out for our best interests, considering they believe us too inferior to take care of ourselves.

Ridwan said...

The "cracker rally" Eugene is referring to:

Ad-Hoc Committee Against Racism and Fascism

For Immediate Release: 9/24/07

Contact:, 971.285.4688 (voicemail).

"Hammerskin Nation" Racists Will Meet with Opposition.

People from All Backgrounds Unite Against White Supremacist Organizations

Portland, Oregon - The Hammerskin Nation, a neo-Nazi skinhead
organization, aims to attract hundreds of hardcore racists to the group's twentieth-anniversary celebration, to be held October
5 - 7 of this year in the greater Portland area.

The Hammerskins, then known as the
Confederate Hammerskins, began life in 1997 as a Dallas, TX gang
specializing in violence against Jewish people and people of color, sexual minorities, as well as activists.

The Hammerskin Nation-a masthead for Hammerskin racist skinhead crews-has since gone national, and later international, with their bigoted agenda.

The upcoming Hammerskin Nation
event in Oregon was planned in conjunction with Volksfront, a Portland-led white supremacist group with links to Kenneth Mieske and Kyle Brewster,two of the killers of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw in a 1988
racially charged crime.

Volksfront's short-lived musical division "Upfront Records" released a benefit CD for Mieske in 2002, and Brewster had his
parole revoked last year after his association with Volksfront was
revealed on the internet.

The October Hammerskin Nation gathering is currently being openly advertised on such Hitler-admiring websites as

A coalition of Northwest anti-racists has coordinated three days of community responses to the Hammerskin gathering. On Saturday, September 29, the weekend before "Hammerfest 2007," the events include:

Anti-Fascist Awareness Event & Training 3 PM, September 29 at Room 236, Smith Memorial Center, Portland State University.

Organizers from the Seattle-based "If You Don't, They Will" grouping will discuss white supremacist organizing in youth subcultures and in music, as
well as ideas for countering them. This event is free and open to the

Musicians United Against Racism show 8PM, September 29 at The Recyclery, 1417 SE 9th & Madison
Portland hip-hop artists Mic Crenshaw and Santotzin, breakdancers, a reggae DJ, and punk rock performers will offer cultural responses to fascism from 8PM onwards this evening.

In addition, the last event at the Red & Black Café's current location
(2138 SE Division)-this Wednesday, September 26-has been designated as a further night of "Rock Against Racism." Stop by for performances by the "pirate-punks" of Rum Rebellion, acoustic sounds by The Taxpayers, as well as other anti-racist acts.

The Wednesday event also doubles as a fundraiser for the Red & Black's securing of new premises.

A community gathering and rally in response to the "Hammerfest" will take place Saturday, October 6 from 1PM onwards. The gathering will be held in Lents Park, on the corner of SE 92nd and Holgate. Further details plus speakers for the event will be announced soon.

Founded this September, the Ad-Hoc Committee Against Racism and Fascism is dedicated to monitoring and opposing white supremacist groupings in Portland and beyond. As large neo-Nazi rallies have often been preceded by attacks on Jewish people and people of color, sexual minorities, as well as activists, the Ad-Hoc Committee wishes to work with community groups and people of good conscience who want to respond to fascist mobilization.

The Ad-Hoc Committee pledges to respond to any racist provocations in the coming weeks. "We also promise to have a better time than the Nazis," says one Committee member.

To obtain a chronology of recent white supremacist activity in the Pacific Northwest, or for more information on anti-racist endeavors, please contact the Ad-Hoc Committee: 971.285.4688 or

Desirée said...

Interesting (and ridiculously idiotic) indeed. Although Ridwan, the last time I saw you in Portland, I believe that you were wearing a Swoosh shirt. Has this changed your mind?

Ridwan said...

My mind was changed way before that ... I have not thrown out that T.shirt.

Need to do that though ... absolutely!

Geez, next you not going to want to meet me at Starbucks again.

Ouch x 2.

Does Starbucks serve an Indian-only coffee ... ?

OK, stop stirring ... what's next ... you gonna make fun of the videos I post here?

Oh yeah, you already did that ;0)

Be well,

Dione said...

In Ridwan's defense, that Nike Shirt is a dry fit shirt, which is a good product. Look for nock offs out there with the same technology. Also, a student gave that to him so I believe he wears that for sentimental reasons. Right??

Ridwan said...

I did get the Nike shirt, both I own and still wear, from a graduate student who became the Nike point person in France.

I received quite a few from him in one package (he had graduated already and he sent the shirts unsolicited and as a gift).

But, I have also in the past bought many Nike shirts and shoes.

So I am still somewhat guilty for supporting them. But, the last Nike product I bought was about 4 years ago.

I like New Balance which owns Reebok. I have never owned any Reebok stuff since the boycotts of the early 90s (Reebok did buiness in apartheid SA).

I will also never buy a Chrysler product (Jeep Grand Cherokee), but bought a VW Citi Golf in SAfrica knowing about the VW Toureg.

I am trying. And can barely accept that my tax dollars are paying for a war on Iraq!

I'm trying. But still work in the US ... well at least till December.

Thanks Dione. I am surprised you remembered the gifts from Bapna. You know he moved from Nike and is living in Canada now.


Dione said...

I remembered that a student who went to work for Nike wanted to do something nice for you, because you supported them while they were a student. I think that says a lot about you. ( I can get you a watch lol) :)
I don't think you need to throw out any of those shirts, they have a different meaning. If my opinion counts, I wanted you to know that and also because I wanted you to know that I remember what I learned academically as well as about life from you in class and in the independent study you so generously set up for me the last year I was there.

The trying part, is what counts when it comes to being socially responsible. Your doing your best, and educating others, that is what counts.
Pray for my California job :) I am for once.. lol

Desirée said...

Oh Ridwan -
I hope you know that I was merely giving you a hard time. I know we're all complex human beings and all that. ;)
Much love & respect.

Ridwan said...

Hey Desiree I know you are pulling my leg (chain?) ;0)

Thanks for playing ... it makes life so much easier when we can laugh and all.

So good luck with packing today ... tomorrow Kenya?

Wow. Just amazing. Be safe and write when you can.

And I still hope we can meet in South Africa in December. If I can get my stuff done and roll soon enough.

OK, that reminds me, what happened to Mooi? I'll holla at him.

Peace and luv,

Anonymous said...

Eugene, who the fuck are you to call Native Americans red niggers?