It is obvious that the American culture holds a strong materialistic value near and dear to their hearts. By buying new cars, clothes, shoes, and other things to shoot their social status up some points, can go a long way socially. People end up spending THOUSANDS of dollars on the idea of being in the latest “fad” or showing off the physical assets that they consume through the power of money.
No one is more disadvantaged from consumerism than the Black community. Not only do Black people feel the need to follow every trend and BUY everything that is popular, but Black people use these material items to define them and hold a status of money and power to the people “less fortunate” or the ones that don’t bother conforming to the idea of “consumerism”.
“The things we buy to cover up what’s inside…….” -Kanye West
Granted, buying things that make you happy which include expensive cars, clothes, and shoes shouldn’t be a big deal when you can afford them, but while African Americans are contributing great volumes of America’s wealth, WE OWN NOTHING.
Now we are stuck with the idea of spending money on irrelevant things to keep relevant, rather than investing in on other beneficial purchases.
To help you guys understand, let’s break it down in this perfect scenario:
Waiting in line at 5am for the new Jordans to come out, spend hundreds of dollars on them that you worked so hard for, to rock them around and have people THINK that you have money, to go to a house that you dont own, work at a company that you don’t own, and live in a world where you have no say so in.
Of course we’ve all seen and know this problem because it is pretty prominent in our community. But where did it come from and how do we solve it? (should be the question running through your head.)
It is a proven fact that our community today is the result of our history. For centuries Black people have been taught that their natural attributes does not compare to the ones that their oppressors have. So in cahoots with a theory of human nature, Black people try to assimilate and mock the things that these people have and the ways that they act, in order to achieve social status. I mean, a common rule in finding success is to do what successful people do. But you cant find success in materialistic if you are not owning anything that allows you to make money by itself, rather than working hard and buying things that will have you broke before you next paycheck.
The media (like always) plays a big part in the consumerism of the Black community. Rappers, professional sports player, actors, and all of the superficial people on these networks flaunt their expensive stuff to show hip they are to trends socially and how much money that they have. Because the media is well aware of viewers wanting what these TV celebs have, they end up promoting their costly things through them, making the viewers feel obligated to buy, buy, buy and spend, spend, spend!
Can we ever end the cycle of our bad habits? When will people, our people in particular, come to the realization that material items cannot buy our happiness?
Let’s begin by taking the funds we use and investing in stocks and bonds that will benefit us in a few years. Lets begin to make money, that will make money for us. Moreover, lets begin by making wiser decisions with the pennies in our pockets.
Alas, I am no economist but this issue doesn’t add up. It’s time to devalue the trends and value life lessons and decisions.