A young Brother I mentor got his first paycheck of just over $200 and ran out and blew the whole check on 2 pairs of Jordans.
He got paid on Friday, I met him on the following Saturday morning, and the first thing I noticed was his shoes, I gave him a sarcastic compliment, then he gleefully informed me that he had a second pair still in the box.
I took him to an affluent White area of Chicago, and told him; “we gon count how many of dez rich White folks are wearing Jordans.” We were there for an hour and dozens of people walked by, we were staked out at an art museum/gallery, and not one pair of Jordans were seen, I swear not one. Some other Black youth joined us in the “Jordans on Rich White Folks” hunt, and they couldn’t find any either.
The young Brother tried to rationalize it as a culture thing, so then I informed him who Phil Knight was, and how he was worth about 20billion, and asked him what he knew about our culture besides how to exploit it, I ran down Nike’s production and profit model of exploiting cheap labor in the 3rd World, and poor peoples desire for status in the 1st World.
I had him for the first time read the “made in…” label on his shoes, then we talked about the history and conditions of that poor nation, and why Nike made those shoes overseas as opposed to factories in the US.
Then we talked about Marketing as a form of Propaganda, the Black Man’s damaged ego, and the manufactured and manipulated status symbols we see all around our community.
He really seemed pissed that no one broke it down for him before.
Well just a few minutes ago I met him at a library in the hood, to give him some transit passes to get back and forth to work, because he blew all his loot on 2 pairs of Jordans, remember. As I came into the library the Brother was on a site doing a tutorial about financial literacy!!, his back was to me and his headphones were on so he didn’t see me come in. I came in dropped the Ventra cards on him, and left him to his self edification. I figured he no longer need the lecture I had in store for him.