I have come to understand in life that it is not only logical, but also to be expected that simple minds will always pursue ‘simple things’. Actually, when I consider this for a moment, simple-minded people have no choice but to pursue ‘simple things’ because these simple things are all that they have been exposed to and therefore what they value.
Now let me be absolutely clear about what I terming ‘simple things’. When I reference ‘simple things’, I am referring to things that mean absolutely nothing in the truly important things in life, such as: combating illiteracy, working to end global hunger, preventing domestic violence, or contributing to the fight to end the effects of institutional racism.
So I was not surprised, rather a bit annoyed, when Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Dez Bryant gleefully revealed to the media that he owns in excess of 3,000 pairs of Air Jordan’s.
According to Bryant, “nobody, nobody, but Jordan himself” has a shoe collection that rivals his. Trust me when I say this, Dez Bryant, like so many other African-American men of various ages, educational levels, and socioeconomic backgrounds have for some bizarre reason invested a sizable portion of their worth, not to mention finances, into the Jordan brand.
I must tell you that I actually debated with myself regarding the need to address Dez Bryant’s latest episode of buffoonery. The only reason that I ultimately decided to put pen to paper was that after much introspection, I realized that Bryant had much company in his ridiculously juvenile shoe obsession.
Truthfully, I routinely encounter African-American males in possession of the exact same obsession. In fact, many of the alluded to individuals amaze me with their ability to recite the day, month, and year that a particular shoe was released. My chance encounters with such individuals have always left me pondering how much further along they would be as individuals if they pursued worthwhile goals with the same determination they exhibit in learning about and then securing pairs of Jordan’s.
I guess that this piece is being constructed to relate to the grown-ass men who fashion themselves Jordan Brand enthusiasts that neither I nor droves of other African-American adults, are either impressed or amused at your obsession for one obvious reason, that being, in the grand scheme of things, Jordan’s are an inconsequential rapidly decaying tangible reminder that “common sense ain’t all that common.”
Please do not be mistaken and think that my denouncement of Dez Bryant and like-minded African-Americans, male as well as female, with a shoe obsession are the lone targets of my diatribe. If you believe that, well, you are sadly mistaken and probably not that smart. My aim is much wider than merely Dez Bryant and those that ‘swear’ by overpriced Jordan’s, rather it extends to those within our community who mindlessly spend outlandish monies that could and should be allocated for investments that could extend their riches over several generations. I am speaking about African-Americans who spend their monetary resources on ridiculously priced purses, hair (need I even go into this), brand name clothing, and the list goes on.
What makes such purchases even more ridiculous is that many within our community foolishly believe that these items have some type of value to them. In actuality, these eroding tangible items are of no more value to them than the trinkets that Europeans traded for our ancestors centuries ago. Put simply, there is no more significant sign of mis-education to be found among our people.
If I were permitted I would share with those within our community who seek to buoy their esteem via trinkets and even consider such items to be a crucial aspect of their financial portfolio advice that I once heard a financial planner share, “if it is on your ass, then it is not an asset.” I hope that these fools get the message.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016