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$350 designer belt at Barneys

Updated on October 26, 2013

So I read the article by Andrew Siff (

A 19-year-old college student from Queens says he was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell after buying a $350 designer belt at Barneys on New York's Madison Avenue because he is "a young black man." Trayon Christian told NBC 4 New York on Wednesday that he saved up from a part-time job for weeks to buy a Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barneys.

Now let me just say on the record: to detain and verify bank purchases while holding this young man in a jail cell based on suspicion of theft it wrong. To be interrogated by police, told that your identification was fake, and detained when you did nothing more than a engineering student in college is WRONG! He has every right to sue and should sue everyone involved.

Kayla Phillips is another young woman who was the victim of racial profiling when she was stopped by police officers for the purchase of her $2,500 Céline bag purchased from Barney's New York. The young mother of 21 from Brooklyn, New York was stopped and asked by police: 'What are you doing here in Manhattan? Where'd you get the money to buy that expensive bag?' Kayla Phillips is now filing a lawsuit regarding her mistreatment and injustice.

Now on the other hand I must address something that does not make sense to me. Something that occurs in the African American culture and everyone wants to deny it. The psychology of extreme materialism which in no way matches one's financial status or income. Red bottom shoes and no lights on at your house. Working part time for items that the average full time working professional would not purchase. Yes the shoes, clothing, and vehicles on a rap video look nice but that is not reality for the average person. I wonder how much money this young man had in savings for a rainy day when he worked part time and saved to purchase a $350 belt?

Shall we start out with a college student working part-time who saves money to buy a $350 Ferragamo belt. I wondered if he came from an affluent community perhaps accustomed to a lifestyle where buying $350 belts are normal.

The Nielsen Company, a global information and research firm, projects black spending power will reach $1.1 trillion by 2015.

“It goes back to connecting with people that look like you,” Pearson-McNeil says.

So why is this an issue? Materialism vs. Wealth. Learning proper spending habits, how to invest, and how to grow money has escaped the community. The average black dollar does not circulate within the community. Could $2,500 be a deposit on a home elsewhere or a business investment to double your income? These are just questions we must ask at a time when young men and women are attending college accumulating student debt at enormous cost. What happened to parents teaching investment and saving for a raining day. At a time when people are preparing for the future should a 19 or 21 year old seek to wear their wealth? There is no question anyone in America should be free to purchase what they desire. It's just troubling to witness such spending habits at such an early age.

Dave Ramsey principles would not endorse such purchases:

Susie Orman explains a vehicle is a depreciating asset.

Perhaps Christopher (Yahoo Contributor Network) said it best in his article:Materialism in the Black Community as a Response to the Hypocrisy of Black Values

If you are only bringing in $2,000 a month, you shouldn't have a $900 payment towards a Lexus, BMW, Mercedes or an Audi. If you only have $500 in your bank account you shouldn't spend $100 on an article of clothing. Can you make any money off of what you've purchased? Chances are someone will give you a job, buy from you, give you their phone number, or invite you somewhere regardless of whether or not you are wearing your $1,000 outfit or your $150 outfit. God hears us whether we are wearing a $300 pair of dress shoes or a $20 pair of shoes, he looks at the contents of our heart. If you feel the pressure to spend money you don't have just to look like the rest of the congregation that may not be the right church for you.


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