Which would you rather have: no shoes when nobody you know has shoes or no swimming pool when everybody you know has a swimming pool?
In the first scenario, you’d be normal.
In the second scenario, you’d be poor.
Of course, by definition, this is what they say:
But of those three, only the second comes close to anything genuine while a far truer definition would be “uncertainly as to the source of your next meal and/or next sleeping conditions.”
Now, the “poverty threshold” suggests that, at present, a family of four should have a yearly income greater than $22,314.
This places an astonishing 27.4% of Black Americans in poverty, or more than one-in-four.
This, while we know that Black buying power is currently 1.2 trillion, good for 19th overall worldwide if Black America by itself was a nation, higher than Australia and several other “western” powers.
Now, since I gave my own definition of poverty, let me give my own definition of wealth:
Wealth is, quite simply, the ability to buy shit that you don’t need.
The more ridiculous the shit that you can buy – like an AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter or a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita automobile – the wealthier you are.
Now, I strongly suspect that less than one-in-four Black Americans don’t know where they’re gonna sleep or where their next meal is coming from.
So that one-in-four of us is actually in comparative poverty.
We’re the ones without swimming pools.
Of all the things that the Tyler Durden character from Fight Club said during that great speech about how we’re all being manipulated by American advertising, the one part he got wrong is when he suggested that we’re also all “slowly learning” that we indeed won’t be “millionaires and movie gods and rock stars”.
I’d counter that the eventuality of millionaire, movie god, rock star status is something that Americans go to their graves believing in.
When we do inane shit like the 2008 bailout, believing, incredibly, that it’s in everybody’s best interests and literally the American taxpayer’s responsibility to keep the rich, rich; we do that because we honestly believe that sooner or later, we’ll be rich.
And nobody’s buys that bullshit more than Black people.
Already suffering from self-esteem issues because of America’s ubiquitous and specific attempts to make us hate ourselves, Black people figure that the one thing we can do is become rich.
Even Dave Chappelle joked that wealth was how he mitigated the trauma of blackness during his recent SNL monologue.
Still, unlike, say, some rich white boy who’s father is a billionaire and he’s walking through Manhattan with his mini-dog on a leash, a latte in his hand, scruffy beard combed to perfect untidiness, wearing a nondescript hoodie, nondescript jeans and flipflops, if a nigga has ever had five dollars at any point in his entire life, you see it somewhere on his wardrobe.
Tell me you’ve never seen some nigga wearing a Ferragamo belt (and Jordans of course) about to get on a bus!
And worse, too many of our entertainers, certain rappers in particular, seem to work almost as agents of our own destruction as they spit seemingly with the idea of cash for cash sake, or if not that, cash for senseless shit like Bugattis which, unlike real estate or even the Holy Trinity of poor man’s goldmines; laundromat, liquor store, car wash, will almost certainly depreciate over time.
The key, of course, is to feel better about ourselves.
So feel better, Black America.