Under his eyes read a caption: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Under that, the Nike swoosh. On a surface level, the picture and ensuing Nike ad are a noble endorsement of a civil rights icon. When we view them through a broader lens of hypocrisy, commodification and capitalism, a different picture starts to emerge.
The abuse of power by police, especially against racial minorities, has long been a problem in the United States. The police were, undeniably, an overt tool of repression against African-American minorities until the late 1960s at the very least, as anyone who was involved in the Civil Rights Movement could tell you. And it remains fairly evident that there is still bias in our police force against blacks and other minorities today.