Cute heels, no? Very simple, sophisticated, chic, and ghetto?
Apparently that’s what they are to Topshop. The $100 pumps, which are currently out of stock, have been given the misnomer for reasons unbeknownst to us, and we just can’t even.
This morning, Refinery 29’s Leeann Duggan was spending her downtime the way we all do when things get a little slow at work, browsing the interwebs for shoes and other thangs to ogle over for a little while, when she came across the “Ghetto Court” shoes, to which she had to say:
Unless our inner cities are suddenly filled with folks teetering in ankle-strap pumps, I can’t figure out for the life of me why Topshop would choose to name this shoe “ghetto.” Perhaps it’s a sophisticated critique of institutionalized racism and poverty? Underfunded inner-city schools? Stop-and-frisk policies that unfairly target minorities? The denial of bank-lending services based on race known as redlining? Maybe in England, ghettos are different: just chill places where ladies rock killer pumps.
She couldn’t have put it any better. Do we have any English friends out there who could please confirm that? Because we would really like to understand.
There really isn’t any good reason to name a shoe “ghetto” or to use it as a throwaway adjective at all. This is not about being PC or on a linguistic high horse. This is about the fact that ghettos are real places, right now and in every city, where generations of people are stuck in institutionalized poverty. Ghettos are a serious human rights problem, not a cutesy dismissive descriptor for anything vaguely “urban.”
We don’t really need to spell out exactly why this is not OK, do we? Granted, Topshop probably did not mean to be offensive, but this was just lazy. Pathetic, even. There are literally millions of words in the English language, and a good chunk of those are adjectives that would fit the description of the shoes more aptly than the word “ghetto.”
As Leeann so eloquently puts it, “Can we just…not?” because we’ve got to do better.
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