Streetwear: The Key to Ending Racism?
As I stand in line outside of Nocturnal in Philadelphia, waiting for the store to open, I look around at the people waiting with me, and notice the different colors around me: black, white, yellow, and brown. No, these weren’t the color of their shoes, instead, the respected colors of their skin. Next to me, a black kid is wearing some black Jordan XIIIs sitting on the ground, in front of me, a Latino and White kid talk about whether the store will have the size or not. A few minutes later, three Filipino kids roll up, all wearing fresh Dunks, and ask me what time the store opens: “Ten o’clock”, I say. I haven’t been to many other cities in recent years, but I can probably guess that this scene is not too uncommon. People from different cultures and backgrounds are coming together to share their love for sneaker culture and streetwear in general. White kids wearing Rasta and African colors, Black kids wearing “La Raza” shirts and so on. To me, it’s a beautiful thing, especially because it’s occurring in the younger generation. Unlike our parents and those before, we have not experienced the overt racism that was certainly present in this country. Most of us, meaning those in the streetwear and sneaker game, do not have the same prejudices as others in this country. Maybe because the people designing the things we wear are just as diverse as the ones who wear it. Or maybe it’s due to the fact that most of the younger generation have not been taught the same racist ideals as previous ones. I don’t know, maybe I’m looking too much into it, but can the love of streetwear really be a step forward in changing this country’s racist foundations?