In the truly rich tradition of looking like a jackass to own the libs, anti-sitting reactionaries took to Twitter on Labor Day to show photos and videos of them burning their Nike apparel in protest of Colin Kaepernick becoming the face of the athletic company’s thirtieth anniversary of the Just Do It campaign. Kaepernick, who as you may recall sat down once and ended America, is now fighting conservatives not be kneeling, but by poisoning them, by getting them to burn their shoes and breath in the noxious gases in the process. Truly this is what praxis looks like.
While it’s always delightful to see the chuds self-own, and it’s also sort of cathartic to know that Kaepernick is getting paid (especially since he’s been blackballed from his job for doing what literally every single NFL athlete did in the history of the league prior to a mid-00s recruiting campaign by the United States military that included making football players stand for the anthem), it is important to not think that every dumb action needs an equal an opposite dumb reaction. What I’m saying is, please don’t try to cure racism by running out and buying a new pair of Nike.
Look, shoes are great, I love shoes, I even own a pair. I even own a pair of Nikes (Jordan Trunners). Wearing shoes will not solve racism however. It’s nice that Nike is doing this, in the sense that they are a hugely influential company and children everywhere love their product and now think of Kaepernick as good, but we will never be able to buy our way to a better world.
This isn’t even about Nike’s sweatshops, or the allegations of child labor that date back to the early 90s, or the horrifically underpaid Chinese employees who eventually had to strike in 2014, or the fact that Nike shields their company from taxes by transferring ownership of their trademark swoosh logo to an offshore tax shelter in beautiful (tax free) Bermuda, although all those things are true and important and good reasons not feel good about yourself for buying Nike (or literally any other shoe brand, especially Toms Shoes). This is about the fact that consumption, which is participation in our current market system which transfer wealth upward at every opportunity, is not only not a solution to racial inequality, but works in antithesis to that very goal.
Now, this also doesn’t mean you should go be mean to someone for wearing Nike. Again, this is an issue with literally every company in the entire world. There is no ethical consumption under capitalism. We all have to wear shoes, and whatever is on your feet definitely hurt someone, somewhere (again, especially Toms Shoes; I cannot emphasize enough how bad that company is).
This also doesn’t mean, as many seem to think no ethical consumption under capitalism translates to, that we should just buy whatever and ignore all possible context. All this means, is that you should still approach your personal purchasing choices in as critical a manner possible, understand that nothing you’re buying is making things better globally, you have to still live your life and buy things and that’s fine, and keep your eyes on your own damn shopping cart.
Enjoy the tantrum that is sure to follow this Nike ad campaign. It’s already a delight to behold. Make fun of your white friend who posts a picture in their brand new Nikes with the hashtag #Erasism (ten years ago that 100% would have been me. We all make mistakes. I bought into liberal politics, Nike hid $3.6 Billion in intellectual property off shore to short tax payers). Remember that Nike is still a mega company that exploits their workers so Phil Knight can build the Oregon Ducks a $10 Billion training facility (none of which goes to the players). But mostly just enjoy the chud tantrum.
Dylan James Harper is the Political Editor for CSUITEMUSIC.com
Read more from Dylan at http://www.dylanjamesharper.com