It seems to me a lot of Americans spent the last few weeks angry about things that, at the end of the day, are fairly inconsequential. But the irony of the sequence of anger-inspiring events is fairly ironic to me.
Once again there are calls for a Nike boycott happening on social media, and once again it is Colin Kaepernick-related. This time people are upset with Nike because it pulled from stores a pair of shoes that had the Betsy Ross-style flag. The company did this at the urging of its spokesman, Colin Kaepernick. He pushed for the pulling of the shoes due to its use in racist and white supremacy imagery.
I saw a lot of posting that slavery and/or racism is in the past but white supremacy is not in the past. It is a very real and present danger to all of us in society. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Under the guise of ‘heritage,’ symbols of early U.S. history, including the Betsy Ross Flag, have long been adopted by hate groups set on returning to a time when all non-white people were viewed as subhuman and un-American.” As I said during the last Nike boycott, Nike has the power to do what it wants with its business and if you are going to boycott Nike, do it quietly. Once again since the calls for the boycott, Nike stock has surged. A part of this might be because people have claimed they are buying Converse shoes instead of Nikes; Nike owns Converse.
Honestly, I am all for a boycott of Nike. If we boycotted Nike due to its persistent use of sweatshop labor overseas, maybe it would move jobs back to the U.S. or pay employees a living wage. But to successfully boycott such a large company, it would take literally millions of people not buying the product at all. And that seems unlikely to ever happen.
Later in the week, Disney announced a black singer/actress will be playing Ariel in the new live-action version of “The Little Mermaid.” It seemed like a lot of the people who were claiming racism was dead and black people needed to be less sensitive were the same ones who were in a tizzy over the casting.
I am probably a horrible person to speak on this subject because I have not seen most Disney movies, so I am missing the cultural connection my peers have with them. I just don’t understand why people are so upset about the casting of a fictional character. It’s not like Tom Cruise was cast to play a samurai…wait, that already happened and no one said anything. But, if Disney really wanted to be true to the original story, Ariel would be green, her feet would bleed when she walked and she would be into killing sailors.
I thought it was also interesting that people were upset about Ariel being the first traditionally white princess to be played by a black actress, when Brandy played Cinderella in the late ‘90s live-action version.
What I want from Disney (and every movie studio out there) is to stop remaking/rebooting/making sequels of existing movies/ideas. Clearly, people are done with seeing the same thing over and over again. Ticket sales are way down this year for remakes and the like and that is seriously hurting the movie industry as a whole. It’s hard for me to say if there are more Democrats running to be President in 2020 or more versions of Spiderman in the last 15 years.
I saw a meme on Facebook that said, “Everyone is mad about stupid stuff, I wonder what shady stuff the government is doing.” Even though I don’t think the government is shady as a whole, that got me thinking. What do we miss as a society when we are super busy arguing about shoes or the races of fictional characters?