We have all seen and read the news stories of people being beaten, killed and the crazy mobs that happen over a pair of Jordans. Now I am not going to sit here and pretend to be on high horse, because I appreciate a nice pair of J’s just like the next man. But I have been hearing some disturbing stories about how selfish Michael Jordan is and his disrespect towards black people. I watched Rapper Chamillionaire’s YouTube video in which he asked Jordan to take a picture and not only did Jordan refuse to take a picture with him, he became indignant and said “I ain’t taking no pictures with no niggers.”
Meanwhile, Chamillionaire had just spent $7,000 on a Michael Jordan jersey. Jordan proceeded to tell Chamillionaire to give him $15,000 and that he would give him an autographed jersey and take a picture with him. This is not the first story that I have heard about Jordan disrespecting another man and I am sure that it will not be the last. In my mind, however, I am thinking of how the audacity and disrespect of this man is amazing. In his book, Michael Jordan: The Life, he recalled a time in his childhood when a white girl called him a Nigger and as an act of rebellion, he threw a soda at her. Having experienced racism yourself, I wonder at what point in time did you begin to internalize that hate and replay it on the very people that idolize you and have made you a billionaire. The same kids who have died or been beaten and trampled on for your $5 pair of shoes. And yet, even with the numerous stories that we hear about Jordan and his lack of response towards the violence that occurs for his shoesake, we still support him. But why?
The answer is very simple, in a complex culture of poverty, that we undoubtly thrive in. It makes us feel good. When you come from a marginalized and oppressed people, everything seems shut out to you. Many people do not own much beyond the clothes on their back; and as such, material things come to mean more than ownership of where you lay your head. So, Jordan can disrespect those who butter his bread, because it has nothing to do with him. You have to be conscious to care about the fact that you are being disrespected. Our children and adults alike have been brainwashed to live in a bubble of materialism. Whereas, our treasures in life and what others value us by, is what is on our backs and not what is in our heads nor hearts. It is the shoe and not the person that is seen. Black people in American command 1 trillion dollars in buying power, and that is what we do- buy. We must find value in our neighborhoods, homes, schools and people. Now that is something worth dying for.
Food For Thought:
I wonder how many students could we send to a four year university if everyone who went to buy the latest pair of Jordan 11 Retros, gave their $120-$225 to a scholarship fund instead. I mentioned that because we cant expect Jordan to be his brothers keeper, if we are not prepared to do the same.