Materialism, A Contributor to the Destruction of the Black Family

      On the way home from my family’s Mother’s Day celebration my SO and I had a brief discussion about teen violence and the root causes.  He seems to think that societal norms and the family structure, or lack thereof, equally contributes to the surge in Black on Black crimes.  Not that I disagree, but I did include the fact that many of these young people have their priorities all screwed up, they are so caught up in acquiring material things that they are willing to give up their freedom in their pursuit of them.  We were watching Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, don’t ask me why it was a short lapse in judgment, and Kimora surprised her young girls with a bedroom that had to have cost close to (if not) $100,000.  I was mortified by it because all I thought about was the ideals she is instilling in those girls.  I mean they will have no realistic means of appreciating the important things in life if she continues to encourage ostentation. 

     I belive children should understand and appreciate the importance of hard work, should be grounded with things that matter most and should have some direction, not exuding pomposity and arrogance merely because they happen to be part of the “haves” as opposed to the “have nots”.  If nothing else, the recent recession we are experiencing should be a wake up call for all of us, that a lifestyle of opulence is temporary and thus should be a thing of the past.  Especially Blacks, we are experiencing unemployment in the double digits, have material wealth that is still way below the national average and are completely financially unprepared for retirement according to a recent BusinessWeek article.  Blacks’ spending power is estimated to be more than $1 trillion by 2012, (,  this is astronomical considering our lack of substantive economic resources.  I mean almost 25% of the Black population lives in poverty, the median income has been reported to be somewhere around $35,000, almost 50% less than that of Whites (according to reports by Mediamark Research and Intelligence) and the average wealth for the Black family has been reported to be as much as half that of their White counterparts.  This is clearly an example of our over consumption and overspending. 

      Our children do what we do, not necessarily what we say do.  So if they are misguided about what is important, then they are certainly destined to put emphasis on tangible things, the “instant gratification” mindset that is rampant in today’s society.  It is vital that we teach them that the satisfaction of having things is ephemeral, they can be taken away, broken or become obsolete very quick.  Although the violence that occurs amongst our young people today is primarily gang related, there is a substantial amount of Blacks involved in violent crimes like robbery, burglary and theft.  It is alarming to me how many young people wind up in Family Court for delinquency proceedings because they attempted to take someone else’s cell phone, ipod or other similar device.  And to be honest with you, many times it is the kid whose family can afford to buy him or her these things but choose not to for a number of reasons.

    I say we get back to basics, less spending and more saving.  Let’s show our young people how important it is to prepare for our future, putting less emphasis on satisfying that urge and acquiring things today.  The Black family is being annihilated, we have to take a collective look at everything that affects it.

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