Journalist George Chidi was covering a Georgia Confederate Battle Flag rally when he noticed a man in the rally wearing FUBU athletic shoes. The man also had a “KKK tattoo.” So Chidi “confronted” the man, apparently a “walking contradiction” (groan):
The equal-opportunity shoe shopper had obviously put some thought into his attire that day as he, like others, wore a red shirt to match the Confederate flag. He probably thought the red, black and white shoes would fit in well with his fellow Confederate flag supporters, which it did sans his unintentional political fashion statement.
But the emotionally charged individual responded he saw nothing wrong with his literal walking contradiction.
“It doesn’t matter who, what I wear. I don’t care what it’s by. I bought them. It’s my right to buy them,” he answered. “The shoes that you wore were probably designed by a white man in the 1920s. But does that make you stop wearing those shoes because a white man designed them? I don’t care if a black man designed my shoes.”
I don’t really get it. Why is this man a walking contradiction? Does Chidi want the flag rally man to be fully and completely racist in all his decisions? As if consistency is something to aim for, even in ignorance and hate.
The man’s “hypocritical” fashion statement seems to me like an opportunity to create a helpful racial dialogue. Rather than “confronting” the man and “pressing the [basically irrelevant] point,” Chidi could have tried to use the FUBU shoes as a way to create common ground.
Also, doesn’t anyone else think FUBU is in itself just as racist as the KKK? FUBU stands for “For Us By Us.” It was created by black people for black people. Apparently white people aren’t supposed to wear FUBU shoes. Chidi believes these shoes don’t belong at a Confederate flag rally, but they don’t technically belong on white feet, no matter how tolerant those feet may be. And how is that substantially different from the KKK? The KKK basically pastes a FUBU label on the United States of America. And other races and immigrants say that’s terribly racist. But FUBU is apparently not racist.
I think this was a wasted opportunity. This man’s unwitting act of non-racism is exactly why racism is stupid in the first place. Black and white people all do good and bad things. Skin color is not a helpful way to distinguish good from bad. This KKK member at a Confederate flag rally implicitly understands that already. Now, he’s probably even more strongly racist than before. And he’ll probably never wear those shoes again. Thanks, George Chidi. You’ve made your point.