The Intersection of Sneakerhead Culture and Racism in the United States of America
AbstractSneakers are an omnipresent force in our modern world. Sneaker culture is effectively an encompassing platform that breeds self-expression and creativity. They have been a continuous presence throughout history, evolving in accordance to societal and cultural changes. Today, sneakers symbolize material status and wealth. However, this has brought on an abundance of sneaker-related violence within the United States, generally geared towards the Black youth. The reason for this type of violence can be attributed to several different components. Sneaker companies create artificial scarcity during sneaker releases, which maximizes product anticipation, consumer excitement and profit projections. This, closely coupled with significantly increased resale prices and glamorized advertisements (which sometimes also indirectly promote violence due to poor product name) transforms sneakers into a dangerous market. However, it is irrational to only place blame on an individual group. Rather, there are many other forces at play, representing a complex network concerning sneaker consumption and associated violence. Through extensive research and interviews, the exploration of the robust theory of consumption, in terms of class distinction theory and the transmission of taste, stimulated further investigation into racial social membership and consumption habits. This has been used to explain that sneaker-related violence is a result of many different failings in society by means of societal imbalance of values and social class, and racial inequality. These issues have merely been highlighted with this form of apparel-violence. We must harness the powerful ability of sneakers to potentially bridge the gap between socioeconomic and racial groups across the United States.
Copyright (c) 2020 Intersect: The Stanford Journal of Science, Technology, and Society
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).