Thursday, April 13, 2006

Unreal on how you defend what is obviously a racist symbol. Why don't we put swaztikas on Nikes? That's a cool artistic symbol too. I bet your friend could draw real cool shackles or a noose. When Mr. McGee puts his logo on a shoe, nobody gives two cents about his background and how respected he is in the underground. If he drew something racist, then the thing he drew is a racist symbol. What could possibly be a more racist symbol than a buck-toothed, bowl headed, pig nosed asian? What he did with his hand is a hate crime. Yes, it's art. Racist art. I guess there's such a thing.
-Dennis Martinez

Dennis Martinez, thanks for writing.

Since you say it, let's say there's a Savastika, the Japanese buddhist symbol on a Nike. (It's literally a reversed Swastika, and it's been around for hundreds or perhaps 1000s of years). My guess is 95 or more Americans of 100 would confuse it for the Nazi symbol. But nonetheless, the exact Nazi symbol is different from a Ray Fong. (I'm sure you're saying no it isn't... but it is in this case. Think how one is about pure genocide, and one is a mocking image.) - you know, this is like a puzzle of a paragraph. I apologize.

It's about context.

People won't know the difference, unfortunately, but for those who do will know it's fine. Those who don't will never understand. That said, if there was an artist who did nothing but non-racist swastika art (if this is possible - see how it's different?), and then he was asked to do a shoe, it would be part of his art. This is a farce, but if it's art, it's art.

The Fong image solo, sure it can be seen as a racist image, but in context and how it's used, isn't a racist statement. Imagine African American artists use black-face type images as their art. It's in tons of folk art from the south. Manuel Ocampo does have Swastikas in his art. Are these hate crimes or racist? Wait until you see his Keds!

I'm sure there is a such thing as racist art, but this isn't it. Thanks for writing, and sorry you're offended. I doubt I'll be able to convince you.

At the same time, I've lost control of all this for myself. Time for it to sail away.


Blogger wiffle said...

I'm flabbergasted that people are even discussing this. I wouldn't buy these shoes because I think they're unattractive and only 16 and 36 year olds trying to be "down with the scene" would wear those.
I would be very into owningg a pair of swastika nikes. Maybe people would start a blog trying to guess whether or not I'm racist or just a jerk. (The answer is a little bit of both)

The moral is: If you don't like something then don't buy it. Then push it from your mind and concentrate on things that are important in your life. It's, like, a buddhist thing. or whatever.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Aaron Stewart-Ahn said...

I don't think there's anyone on the planet who would spend $250 on a pair of shoes with the intention of flaunting making fun of Asians.

I feel there's been an enormous downside to political correctness. Reducing ignorance is admirable; but knee jerk responses and the repression of all (considered) racist language and imagery does nothing to improve our situation. Someone who is racist against Asians is racist to begin with; Barry McGee's artwork is not going to make them worse, or convert people. People see in imagery and comprehend in linguistics what they want to.

Nothing ever should be dismissed outright without context. This is the problem we're in; we are obsessed with analyzing things only for surface value, which is where some of racism comes from.

Eradicating the ignorance that is at the heart of pervasive racism requires brutal honesty, reflexive examination, and lengthy dialogue.

Anyone offended by racism and who wish to do something about it would find far more value in life spending their time currently educating themselves about pending illegal immigration bills and taking part in political action regarding thus... Than worrying about a limited edition of shoes.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't know who's dumber - dennis, or you. that's my two cents! eat a dick, eric.

3:51 PM  
Blogger gr said...

I admit it. I'm dumb, but Dennis is a smart dude. Actually, thinking about it, I know someone dumber...

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Ottery said...

I'd stay anonymous too if my best statement about the topic were "eat a dick, eric". Thanks for the contribution, fartmouth.

Otherwise, valid points on all sides. I must especially agree with Aaron's statement about self-education and the importance of tackling real issues (ie. the immigration bills) that are more detrimental to society right now.

10:09 PM  

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