Check out that candy painted Chevy sitting on 22s, talk about pimp my ride.One thing that gets many Americans in a lot of trouble is spending money. But it appears blacks tend to be more materialistic than any other culture.Lessons on budgeting is replaced with the notion that to have the newest pair of Jordan’s. The whole concept about needs versus wants needs to be taught.From the Target Market News’ Web site, Stephen Washington, president of the Cleveland based Black Wealth Network said, “African Americans have a large consumer profile.” Products such as sneakers, cosmetics and clothing items thrive off the black dollar. According to Target Market News, blacks make up 25 percent of consumers and 12 percent of the nation’s population. But blacks spend about $744 billion dollars a year. In 2007 it reported blacks spent more money on most automobiles, spending over $32 billion. Blacks buy a lot of products, and have a large consumer profile. There is nothing wrong with loving to shop. The problem is that the percentage of money spent is higher than the percentage of blacks in the United States.Blacks’ environment plays a role in spending habits. The Moderate Voice of International News, reports that blacks tend to be concentrated in poor communities more than whites. The report further explains that poor whites are likely to be surrounded by many whites who are not as poor, which discourages conspicuous consumption, removing competition. But poor black people are more likely to be surrounded by those with similar income, making this competition feasible. Competition is noticeable in the American culture but especially the black culture. Just look at how men try to out do each other during homecoming with their “hooked up” cars. Earning respect from others using materialism, is not important. Yolanda Farrel, a sociology professor at Florida A&M University, said blacks are no worse than other Americans. “We just spend our money on flashy fashionable things,” she said. She also said blacks just do not learn to invest. “We are overlooking the vast majority of what black people spend their money on and are focusing on the minor things such as rims, fancy cars and jewelry,” she said.Investment is definitely something we as blacks should learn about and teach. Of course, we want the finer things in life, but it does not mean splurge.
Mila Bradley is a freshman public relations student from Deltona, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.