We have entered an age where we get to see internet access and a chromebook is more essential for our children and communities than a pair of Jordan’s and an iPhone! It’s been this way for over two decades but a pandemic has a way of making one reflect on the bare necessities of life.
This is not an insult. Pressures of society, especially for those in low-income families, causes people to present themselves better than their situation. We grew up being told that you don’t have to look poor even if you are poor (and I am speaking financially). No matter our situation we were raised with a pride on how we look when we walk out the house.
We hide the bruises with makeup, we mask financial despair with a new car, and we cover up nameless pants with a Gucci belt. Before holes in pants was a thing we covered it up with a patch; we put hard cardboard in the bottom of shoes to cover up the holes. Every Easter we rocked new suits because one day a year we had to honor God with a fashion show. We had to wear our Sunday’s best.
As we grew, we learned that some of our parents had it hard. We never knew the struggles they had just to make ends-meet. Some masked pain with domestic violence, untempered emotions with whiskey, and some children became the outlet for that societal pressure and were sexuality abused, ravaged with extension cords, and became the circle of continuation for the following generations. Others focused on imparting in their child solid values of faith, hard work, and good study habits. Whichever category, before we left the house and parents went to work and children went to school, we looked good. We became experts at masking poverty with fashion.
Now is the time to shift this legacy into a new possibility. It’s time to reflect on the essential needs of our households. What good are Jordan’s if you can go outside in a quarantine? What value is a Gucci belt or Balenciaga’s if there is nowhere to showcase them? What is valuable for all our communities is internet access. What is valuable for our homes is a computer per child (dependent upon age).
Not enough to shift your thoughts. Think about this. Grocery store clerks, mail delivery personnel, nurses, and teachers are at the top of the food chain right now. They are our number one support systems. We pay athletes millions of dollars a year and can’t pay people a living minimum wage and these same people are putting their lives on the line for us everyday during this pandemic. (Shoutout to all athletes doing threat part to ensure those that support them get paid).
Reflect on your priorities. Work to give your children the best options for their future as best you can. There is no judgment or ill intent towards anyone, it’s only a challenge for us all to re-evaluate what really matters. I am sure the Jordan Brand would say the same. Either way, we can change the paradigm and look good while doing so.