Monday, January 3, 2011

Negroes, Nike, & Niggerization: Corporate America Wins While Black People Lose

"Yeah, Money... it's definitely the shoes!"
 Maybe it was the time I went back to school shopping with my dad when I was 14yrs old that I learned the commercialism as far as tennis shoes would have no importance in my life. Yeah, that was the time at Kohl's that I debated with my father just how important it was for me to own the Ralph Sampson signature pair of Pumas as opposed to the no-named pair of Brooks he wanted to buy me at the time. Frustrated by my antics and show of selfishness, my father made me leave the store and sit in the car. My younger brothers got Nike while I got, well, not even the pair of Brooks.

I think it was at that point that I learned something valuable: shut up while in stores shopping with dad. Which eventually lead to me not giving a damn about purchasing the hottest tennis shoe of the month ever; and to this day, I am the same way. So when I saw the following video of black folks acting the damn fool at a Houston mall on Christmas Eve when the new Air Jordans were released, I was thankful that my father did what he did while I was at the tender age of fourteen:

I could be wrong, but I'm hoping that this display is yet another sign of a recovered economy. As bad as the Black unemployment rate currently is (or was?), I'm hoping that as bad as things are (were?), Black folks aren't out losing their minds in the pursuit of $200.00 tennis shoes. No, not my people; our priorities are better than advertised. However, I kinda wished "my people" would approach institutes of higher education with the same enthusiasm as they did that mall in Houston.

"I like Nike but wait a minute, the neighborhood supports, so put some money in it" - Public Enemy
At any rate, whether they choose to do just that or not, I'm sure that there's an 8yr old kid in Indonesia who makes six cents a day at a sweat shop making these shoes, who is much appreciative of our love of fashion, and niggerish affection of Air Jordans. Shoes which as one person told me on twitter, were important to black kids as they serve as a much-needed self-esteem boost. Yep, and according to him, me not understanding that and choosing to advocate for higher ed makes me a House Nigger. Thanks a lot, dad; not only am I not cool, I'm also a sellout who can't dunk like Ralph Sampson or Michael Jordan.


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