Afro-Albinos @ Niketown

I’m in awe of the Niketown on Union Square. It’s so big, flashy, and new. It also has some rather striking male mannequins. Mannequins I’m not sure if I should applaud or decry.

First, I noticed they had white mannequins in the men’s soccer section and black mannequins in the men’s basketball section. Thinking this a little too stereotyping, I mentioned it to a Niketown staffer. She told me to take a closer look. So check out the photo below very carefully. Click on it for the larger Flickr version even.

Does the middle male mannequin look different than the other two?

Yep, that’s exactly what I thought too. The staffer called him the “Afro-Albino” as he has “African” features & hair. She also pointed out that the black mannequins have white features – and on a closer look they sure did.

So is this good or bad? Should we applaud Nike for having different races and colors in their mannequins, even if they don’t always get the mix-match right? And what about the white/black sport separation? Is it good to reinforce racial segregation in sports? And if so, which mannequin should be in the golf section? Tiger Woods or Arnold Palmer?

I personally applaud the black and white male mannequins, in both body shapes and would love to see more colors and shapes represented. But the white = soccer and black = basketball: Uncool, Nike, very uncool. From Freddy Kanoute to Steve Nash, uncool.

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