Impala Skates Controversy- The Online Resurgence of Roller Skating Is Being Whitewashed!

impala skates controversy

Hello there, everyone! I’ve seen a lot of negative remarks on the impala skates over the last year, nearly all over the internet, and I’m baffled. I’m not talking about the impala skates, which I adore.

So here’s what I did: I took some time to conduct comprehensive research on what was going on and presented the findings to you! Yes, I talk about all things skates, and the history and reality behind the impala skates controversy would be something you’d be interested in hearing about. these tendencies may have subsided by now, I’d like to know your comments on your impala skates and how they worked out for you.

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The Online Resurgence of Roller Skating Is Being Whitewashed

impala skates controversy

Like a 1950s drive-in diner waitress, roller skating’s recent online rebirth surged across digital mediums. The en vogue quad skating aesthetic that currently dominates Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram is powered by nostalgia for bygone periods, from your parent’s disco to your own childhood roller rink birthday celebrations, harkening back to the imagery of romanticized Americana across the years.

The internet skate phenomenon, like other revivals of America’s past, comes with an undercurrent of racism and Black erasure. If you go through the sea of mostly white faces that populate the 1.5 billion TikToks under the #rollerskating tag, you’ll uncover the most overlooked history of Black communities that never let it go out of vogue in the first place, as with so many popular trends.

“It’s incredibly unsettling because the roller-skating community online is so different from the roller-skating community I grew up with — you know, just rolling around the cul de sac with my homegirls,” says Faeiryne, an Atlanta-based skater who uses the handle Faeiryne on Instagram and YouTube.

Fairy (who wished to be identified only by her online alias, as do many other skaters in the group) recently returned to skating after being inspired by the social media trend. She turned to the digital communities fueling its return after moving to Seattle, where there isn’t much of an IRL scene. “However, the folks who are currently the face of the skate movement have nothing to do with us.” And it won’t help Black skaters until people educate themselves.”

Roller skating has long been a part of Black culture in every corner of the United States. Almost every city or state has its own unique form of dance or jam skating, as seen most recently in the HBO United Skates documentary from 2018. Every year, the most dedicated skaters travel thousands of miles to gather for national festivities, where local communities compete, show off their skills, and teach each other new tricks. When Black skaters protested the segregation of roller rinks, they were greeted with police brutality and white violence, which was a pivotal chapter in the civil rights movement.
However, the general public’s perception of roller skating is rarely informed by its rich cultural heritage. That history is certainly absent from the most visible aspects of skating’s online resurgence, where it’s anyone’s game to sexily stride backward on pastel skates.

impala skates controversy

Skating’s internet revival has been whitewashed in part due to racial biases entrenched in social media algorithms employed by companies like TikTok. While we don’t fully understand TikTok’s algorithm, we do know that it favors producers who are similar to those a user currently follows, creating an echo chamber of sameness that can exacerbate racial inequities.

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“The algorithms that drive these platforms are created by humans, so they’re going to be just as discriminatory in terms of who they promote,” Faeiryne adds. “It’s known that those who appear white perform better—bonus points if you’re blonde, slim, and able-bodied.” But algorithms aren’t the only ones to blame. People from every online skating niche have been just as eager to repress racial equality in social media’s biggest new trend over the last few weeks.

“I get irritated when people say that so-and-so brought back roller skating since, for the most part, roller skating never went away.” It’s something that has truly kept towns together, people, together, and kids out of dangerous situations,” says Ahmad Dunson, a California-based skater with 14,000 TikTok followers who grew up in Ohio and attends the yearly national skate parties. His most popular video highlights the app’s glaring differences in success, while another highlights the app’s overwhelming whiteness. “To say that roller skating has only recently returned is disrespectful when it has such a long history and has meant so much to so many people.”

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I'm a researcher and behavioural therapist with a PhD in Social Media. I also love to travel and drink coffee. Follow my adventures around the world, or just know that I really need to be back at the library.