Money can blind success

Driving expensive cars, dressing with the best clothes and being popular among peers, are some things many black students try to attain.

Unfortunately, many of us are so caught up in materialistic components that we lose track of what we are truly here to do.

There are enough stigmas and stereotypes-being lazy, incompetent and dumb- that plague students and we do not need “materialists” added on to the tally list.

When I walk to class, I see so many people decked out in attires that I would mainly see worn at nightclubs and students driving cars that look better than some professors’.

It amazes me on how we, as black people, prioritize our lives in order to keep up with the Joneses.

Kanye West said it best in his hit song “All Falls Down.” “We’ll buy a lot of clothes when we don’t really need ’em/ The things we buy to cover up what’s inside…It seems we living the American dream/But the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem.”

Those meaningful verses from Kanye West explain the state that blacks are in when it comes to the material matters we possess and want to attain. I sit in my classroom and it baffles me how many students spend so much time on their exterior and fail to even pay attention to the instructor during class.

It would be a different situation if all these materialistic and narcissistic mentalities were all backed up with the intellectual capacities of scholars that we all are able to be.

“Many students enter college with a materialistic mindset and exit reformed, renewed and refurbished. Graduates enter the workplace armed with a sense of their African American past, ancestors and a new respect for their heritage,” said journalist Patrice Miles of

Ironically, the same individuals that max their credit cards and spend countless amounts of dollars on frivolous things, are the same ones that claim they do not have enough funds to pay for their classes.

After receiving net checks they buy outfits instead of buying that economics book they need for class.

If I go a couple of miles over to Florida State University, I will see less students waking up hours before class to get dressed up for a non-important event, like class.

The priorities, visually, at FSU seem to be less focused on “What am I going to wear today?” and more on “I hope I do well on this test today!”

Materialism among blacks is a trait that has thrived since the day we stepped our feet on American soil, but until we all can realize that life is worth more than our materialistic priorities, it will continue to keep us down.

Nyerere Davidson is a third-year Public Relations student from Milwaukee. He can be reached at