The Stigmatization of Black Poverty: Jordans vs. Passports


We’re currently living in an age where fashion trends tend to receive more praise than owning a passport and traveling the world. It often creates debates--both friendly and intense--merely because one person’s beliefs are different from another. For years, labels and brand names have altered the perspectives of society, forcing unnecessary beliefs about which clothing is ‘better,’which shoe is more ‘poppin’, or how a particular line of clothing is better because of its higher price.

Let’s face it, people today prefer the latest Jordans rather than investing in a passport to travel the world and discover different cultures. We are currently maneuvering through an air space where folks are wearing the latest Jordans priced at $200-$300 shoes, all while they’re standing at the bust stop with $0 in the bank. This is no negative spurt to folks who prefer to cop a Jordan rather than investing in world travels, but more-or-so a wake up call. A wake up call because for years, Jordans have appealed mostly to African Americans and other minority groups across the globe. Jordans are a part of black culture.

Are we attracted to materialistic possessions because we’re trying to make ourselves look valuable? Looking back to the time of slavery up until today, black people have been told that we aren’t valuable. Is that why we prefer the latest Chanel slides rather than investing in world travel? Could it be insecurities? A competition? Do we buy these items because we once weren’t able to buy these ‘nice’ things ourselves? Is it to make ourselves feel better about something?

There isn’t just one answer. There’s so many reasons as to why we choose to spend our money on certain things like brand name belts, backpacks, jewelry, and shoes, instead of investing in setting attainable and realistic goals.


This debate has been going on for sometime now, and yet the messages that are meant to be conveyed just aren’t. Getting Jordans versus passports debate ignited on Twitter recently by television series Insecure’s Amanda Seales. She took her thoughts and understandably obvious frustration about the debate and ‘politely left them’ on her Twitter account.

See, Amanda Seales, an African American woman who lives comfortably from the view of the public’s eye, took to Twitter to voice her thoughts on society’s normalized desire for material possessions versus taking interest in getting a passport, setting goals, or learning something new. In case you all missed it, some of Seale’s tweets specifically read:


Following Amanda Seale’s Twitter rant, many followers, fans, and opposing parties took the social app with their reactions and personal thoughts:


By the looks of these tweets, it’s pretty common to have a personal opinion and even have your personal opinion misconceived too. Some folks may indulge in expensive possessions to simply look ‘cool’ or ‘fly’ while some--and this may a shocker to most of you--may indulge merely because they have never had something they considered ‘nice’ or ‘in good shape.’ When Amanda Seale went on her Twitter rant, how could anyone really disagree with her statements? Yes, Jordans are apart of black culture. Yes, materialistic possessions are only for a moment in time, or just until you happen to grow an extra size in shoes.

Some were offended because she’s a black woman and some black people believed she was attacking them. But take a look around. How many of your friends own a pair of Jordans or multiple? How many of your friends own a passport? How many of your friends own both? You do the math. Sometimes, we don’t get all riled up and upset because the message is false but because it is very true and happens to fit you. We get all riled up because sometimes, we cannot accept negative criticism or criticism in general.

Let’s avoid the buying of Jordans if we’re literally starving. Let’s avoid the buying of Jordans if we constantly find ourselves waiting at a bus stop. Let’s avoid the buying of Jordans when the same cost can help expand your mind, stimulate your interests, develop new hobbies, learn and embrace different cultures, see the things everyone pray we don’t get the chance to see. Rejecting the benefits of owning a passport just to not reject themselves a fresh new pair of Jordans or a new Fendi belt. People deny themselves the opportunity to live a healthy, convenient lifestyle when they stray away from taking different steps, making significant choices, being open to new environments, and seeing the richness of diversity and what the world has to offer besides the materialistic items advertised across our mobile devices everyday. Don’t fall into the trap that “the poor will remain.”

Prioritization. Elevation.