UK: shoes not dark enough, expelled from school. USA: black ballerinas darken them by hand

Who would have thought that, given the growing number of cases, footwear would have become an object on which to build practices with varying levels of discrimination? From Great Britain, for example, here comes the umpteenth news story confirming this “suspicion”. After the “high heels scandal” that arrived in Parliament (a PwC receptionist was sent home because she had come into work with flat shoes) and the silent ban on wearing brown loafers in the City, here comes the student expelled from school. For wearing shoes considered “not dark enough”. Her father, a former police officer, went to the headmaster: “They are smart shoes, what’s wrong with them? I agree on banning trainers, but here we’re exaggerating. Does she really need to change them?” and the headmaster, inflexible, replied yes: “They have to be black or dark.” The father decided to enrol his daughter in another school. In the USA, however, the issue of “shoes that are too light” is affecting the world of dance. Sparking the controversy was Chrystyn Fentroy, a black dancer from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, who, together with her colleagues, protested against the fact that ballet shoes should be strictly “flesh” coloured, or in shades that do not match those of their complexions. Result: “We end up having to dye them by hand.” Chrystyn Fentroy showed this in a photo on Instagram, in which she was painting the tips of her shoes with an acrylic colour, created especially for her by the costume designers at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. (mv)



Choose one of our subscription plans

Do you want to receive our newsletter?
Subscribe now