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!