Friday, August 24, 2012

Another View on Nike's New Basketball Shoes and the Reaction of the National Urban League

Marc Morial's Air Ball says this:

"So, $300 sneakers are a "civil rights" issue?

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Nike's new LeBron X basketball shoe, scheduled to hit stores in the fall, would cost $315. Marc Morial, the head of the National Urban League, a black civil rights organization, didn't take the news so well.

"It's insensitive to market a $300 shoe to kids and teenagers as people are going back to school and struggling to buy school supplies," said Mr. Morial, who urged the company to cancel the sneaker's release.

Black unemployment is 14.4 percent, which is 6 points higher than the national average. Black boys in eighth grade read at the level of white girls in fourth grade. And black children will return to chronically failing schools next month in urban districts nationwide because teachers unions have fought to keep those schools open to preserve jobs for their members. In other words, you'd think that the National Urban League would have its plate full dealing with legitimate concerns of millions of blacks. Instead, Mr. Morial and his organization want to talk about the price of basketball sneakers.

This illustrates once again the disconnect between the agenda of civil rights leaders—which is to keep racism (real or imagined) in the forefront of our national conversations—and the needs of the black underclass. Did Dr. King give his life so that Marc Morial could lecture corporate America about the price of a pair of sneakers that no one is forcing anyone to buy? Are the makers of luxury cars and watches also culpable? Are they next on Mr. Morial's hit list?

To the extent that this is even an issue, it is about culture and values in poor black communities, not "civil rights." It's about a ghetto mind-set that puts conspicuous consumption ahead of industry and thrift. And that's something that black parents and ministers and community leaders need to confront. Instead, Mr. Morial wants to "blame whitey.""


We'll connect this to school vouchers, parental choice, educational outcomes and the easiest way in the world to improve performance in our schools.

Hint: Let the people deicde for themselves where to send their kids to school and send at least most of the money now spent on the public school that they attend along with them.

Now, other than the teachers' unions and Democratic Party, who wouldn't vote for that?

Politics sucks.

Thanks. Bob.

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