Friday, April 14, 2006


The Washington Post tells us that:

A new, limited-edition shoe from Adidas-Salomon AG, part of the "Yellow Series" and decorated with the face of a character who has buck teeth, a bowl haircut and slanted eyes, has provoked a heated debate about the lines dividing racism, art and commerce.

The character on the shoe is the creation of a San Francisco graffiti artist, Barry McGee, who is half Chinese. McGee, who calls the character Ray Fong after an uncle who died, said the image is based on how the artist looked as an 8-year-old.
Others point out that McGee's mother is Chinese and that he often uses art to explode stereotypes of Asians. On the blog AdJab, Adam Finley wrote, "My theory . . . is that Adidas is trying to target a younger, hipper demographic that is already familiar with the underground art world and the images can seem controversial when not seen in the proper context."

The proper context. Hmm.

I don't care if McGee's mom is Chinese. The proper context is that in a society that until recently reveled in exactly this kind of racist imagery of Asians, this design is at best ignorant. This is a guy who never directly encountered or understood the vicious racism that swirled around him as a kid.

I mean, they made it part of "Yellow Series" of shoes. Could they be a little more fucking blatant?


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