A friend of mine told me about this whole debacle today and I literally can’t fix my face from this expression:
Basically, for the Fourth of July, Nike decided to release a limited edition of Air Maxes (Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July to be exact) with the American flag at the heel. But this wasn’t just ANY American flag – oh no – this was the Betsy Ross American flag.
Maybe someone in the design department thought that because July 4th is on a Thursday they could implement #ThrowbackThursday into their design as a marketing ploy.
Either way, this blew up spectacularly in their faces.
Turns out, white nationalist groups like Identity Evropa and Patriot Prayer have co-opted this flag. Also, it was flown during a time when the US still had slaves.
Allegedly, Colin Kaepernick contacted Nike and was like, “Hey, just so you know… that’s racist.” Nike decided to pull the shoe shortly thereafter.
You think that would be the end of it but Republicans – right on time – exploded.
All I could think was even if they used the modern day design of the flag, the United States as a whole has always been marred in racism.
It really wouldn’t matter what iteration of the flag is used.
Native Americans were killed and the remaining ones were rounded up into reservations.
Black people were stolen from Africa, brought here to be stripped of their identity and bought and sold. Today, there’s still police brutality and higher incarceration rates for black people.
Our current president is attempting to build a wall to keep people out that are fleeing a conflict our country had a hand in. They’re being met at the border and separated from their families which causes generational trauma that may never be healed.
Granted, the Betsy Ross flag has garnered a very specific meaning to a very problematic and specific group of people, but this hyper blind nationalism has me side-eyeing the right in the very same way.
Nike: We’re going to put out a shoe with the Betsy Ross American flag.
Kaepernick (allegedly): Racism and white supremacy tho.
Nike: Oh shit, you right. We’ll pull it.
Republicans: BUT ‘MERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nike: It’s racist!
Republicans: AND YOU HATE AMERICA!!!!
I don’t understand why Republicans can’t see why this might have actually been a good move on Nike’s part. Then again, I’m really not surprised.