The Black Dollar: What of This?
Every day while I was growing up, I heard someone lament about the consumer mentality of Black people. With regards to the ratio of the per capita income versus the dollar spent by every Black household, particularly the dollars spent on non-appreciating assets — or flat out liabilities that have no worth from the moment they are purchased — that number is astronomically high in comparison to every other “race” (as it were). Personally, I do not buy into the social construct and elitists’ using race to create a sieve between kindred peoples.
BLACKS AND CONSUMER SPENDING
However the designation is made — Single-parent homes vs. Two-parent homes, Middle-class vs. Working poor, regional demographics, etc. etc. etc., the case is the same: Black people tend to be the largest consumer group in the United States. Blacks also comprise the largest consumer of perishable liabilities that have no long-term worth. There are a few factors that play into this equation. First off, many middle and wealthy Whites barter with one another, often receiving “gifts” for free and passing the buck/paying it forward for relatives and friends (nepotism/Good Ol’ Boy Network). Blacks tend to be more individual in nature with regards to their focus in spending and how their purchases will affect any children they may have, particularly with respect to leaving a legacy. Many more Whites, Asians and even second generation Latin Americans (the portion who are not Black) all seem to have grasped this concept. Even recent immigrants from every European nation, many African nations and areas in the Middle East understand the importance of creating a legacy and “paying it forward” to the generation that comes behind them. This provides for a greater chance of success for future generations, instead of each successive generation being forced to start from Ground Zero or WORSE, in debt, because they have to borrow tons of money to secure an education, a home, a car or anything of value in order to propel themselves in today’s world.
While all “races” spend money on High Fashion, expensive cars, houses and other commodities, Blacks do so to their detriment. How many of us know people in at least five or six instances, living in Public Housing, mooching off their grandmother, aunt or mother, not paying rent, still living in the room that they shared with their brother when they went to PS 200, and everything that they put on their body costs $100 or more, including their “drawz” and even cologne?
I know HUNDREDS. And several PERSONALLY.
I am the last to point the finger at people. When I was in my late teens and early to mid-20s, I literally copped a new pair of sneakers every week for three years straight. I had every bottle of designer cologne (no homo), designer-to-high fashion everything in clothing, had the 350Z sports car and what not, for seven, eight years. However, despite that, I was taught from an early age about saving, opening several lines of credit, managing it properly and investing in real property and other forms of interest-bearing investments. As such, I forged a path into real estate on the side of investing in property. I had a then-family friend who was a 20-year veteran in the field who took me to auctions and foreclosures to show me the ropes. I had the money to do so, although the car that I had before the 350Z broke down just as I was about to purchase my first house in 2003. I had actually decided to buy a condo in 2000, but I balked because my income wasn’t a sure thing (in my mind, at the time).
Why? Karl Kani, Daymond John (FuBu), Sean Combs, Shawn Carter and numerous other designers, Black owned small-medium sized businesses of every sort have sprouted up over the past 100 years. Some thrive, but many do not, with Blacks having the “unmitigated gall” to actually come out of their mouths saying explicitly that they refuse to support Blacks in their consumer spending. Some are beyond salvation in this regard, as they view anything Black-owned as inferior (as they view themselves, not coincidentally), and are label whores to Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Versace, Louboutin, etc. etc. etc.
What does that benefit you? All your clothes are made by people who do not care about you and have even explicitly stated that they do not want you to buy their clothing (Tommy Hilfiger and a few others) and their champagne (Cristal) and at the end of the day, you’re leasing a car (if you have one), paying rent (if not on Section 8 or some other subsidy) and have no equity in a home nor any other means of gaining equitable interest. In other words, you are WORTHLESS.
BUT YOU LOOK GOOD DOING IT, THOUGH!
That is not to run anyone down, nor say that nice things aren’t great to have. They are, and I partake. But in moderation now; especially getting older and seeking to set a healthy financial foundation for the wife and children that I hope to have one day.
You cannot do that if you “ball” throughout your 20s and wake up on your 30th birthday with mounds of debt, worthless clothes, upside down on a car and nothing in the way of interest gained.
OF WHAT WORTH IS THE BLACK DOLLAR?
Outside of voracious spending and vulture-esque companies all too ready to line up with new products to shill, when will this mindset ever change? Not ALL (again, being a Sociology guy, I shy away from using superlatives and absolutes that include or exclude all in the sample group) Black people/Black families do this, but this has been a worsening trend over the past two generations. I have very little to NO HOPE for the current generation that is coming of age. Few of them have much in the way of substantive concepts with regards to money, saving and spending/investing. Everything in today’s age is superficial in offering and caters to a “me-first”/”have now, pay later”/”spend money that you haven’t earned yet” mentality that many Blacks are plagued by far too frequently.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO REMEDY THE SITUATION? ARE YOU PREPARING YOUR CHILDREN FOR GOOD STEWARDSHIP WHEN THEY BECOME ADULTS? WHY OR WHY NOT (IF YOU AREN’T, BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF)?
Side Note: I post this picture for irony’s sake. My readers know that I make purposeful connections with my writing and the imagery that I use. Almost everything is a double entendre and hopefully the abstract thinking manages to form synergy with whatever wave you’re on.
PPS: This isn’t just about Blacks, but everyone — and as such, I am always open to any input that can be offered.