Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The National Urban League vs. Nike

Hello everyone. Welcome to T-76 days until the United States makes a very important decision - electing our next President. Today I should be talking to you about the issues at hand, where the candidates stand, or a number of other important things pertaining to this election. Nope! Instead of talking to you about important stuff, I am here to call out The National Urban League for not doing their F*&king job - again. 

For some reason beyond my comprehension, I've had difficulty gathering my thoughts to write the thought provoking posts, that have weighed on my mind so heavily. Over the last few weeks I couldn't seem to gather the words on the screen, they were blocked in my head. Finally, a few days ago, I realized that my writers block was due to my overall frustration with the current state of affairs in our nation. I shared this with my blog partners, and while doing so I realized that I was just too pissed off to make the words come out properly in a post. If you listened to our radio show regularly you probably know that the Republican Party and Conservatives really upset me. Today, I've reached a new level of upset and frustration, and it's with The National Urban League. 

We are 76 days away from the 2012 Presidential Election. Just one week ago Judge Robert Simpson of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled against the people challenging the state's latest voter ID law in the case Applewhite et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the presumptive Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan stood before the nation and announced that "we promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes." This week Doug Preisse, the chairman of the Republican Party in Franklyn County, Ohio declared that African-Americans shouldn't have the right to vote when he said I guess I really actually feel we shouldn't contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.” 

I mean, who could forget this! Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai told us in plain simple English exactly what Pennsylvania's ultimate agenda was, with these bullshit voter id laws. 

So people, please tell me why the hell isn't The National Urban League making an intense splash about this? Oh you don't know? Well, they are too busy launching an attack on Nike about their upcoming release of the LeBron X Nike Plus, this fall. Apparently these sneakers are set to be Nike's most expensive shoe in the history of the company. The National Urban League is mad about this.

From the National Urban League: 

National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial today asked Nike to abandon plans to release a $315 basketball shoe, and implored parents not to spend scarce resources on an empty status symbol.

"To release such an outrageously overpriced product while the nation is struggling to overcome an unemployment crisis is insensitive at best," Morial said. "It represents twisted priorities and confused values."  Invoking Nike's advertising slogan, Morial urged parents and the company, "Just don't do it."

Nike expects to debut its most expensive shoe ever, the LeBron X Nike Plus, this fall.

"Parents struggle to give their children every advantage, and while expensive shoes might draw admiration, achievement is the advantage that truly matters," Morial said. "Those dollars would better be spent on computers, books and school supplies."

While Morial called the expensive sneakers "a nicety," he said ultimately the product launch was ill-advised.   He noted that Nike advertised heavily during the 2012 Olympics, promoting a message of personal achievement and self-esteem.

"I don't think these sneakers represent the values that Nike has tried to project," he said.

"The economic crisis has escalated violence and crime in many urban communities," Morial said. "Tragically, overpriced sneakers have become a false symbol of status, often sparking violence.

"I ask Nike - and the parents whose children are targeted in this misdirected campaign - to join us in our efforts to empower young people to value their own talents - athletic and otherwise - above material tokens and work together for broader access to the economic mainstream."

Last December OldGuru questioned the importance and relevance of black civic organizations and he didn't include The National Urban League on that list. However, I think they should be included, because as Godson highlighted earlier this year, once again they've missed the mark and expended their relevance and political capital on the wrong cause. 

First of all African-Americans are 13.6% of the population, so there appears to be a slight bit of ignorance for The National Urban League to make the assumption that A) the marketing was targeted towards African-American, B) that the economics involved with these sneakers would snatch up African-Americans as victims, and C) that Nike has some sort of moral responsibility to ensure the economic stability of the African-American community. Sorry, I am calling bullshit on this one! Last time I checked black people were not the only ones who owned or wore sneakers!

I live in Harlem and without fail, every Saturday morning when I am hitting the gym on 125th Street, there is a line in front of atmos with young kids waiting to purchase whatever fresh pair of kicks are being released that day. Do I agree with this? Absolutely not, but I understand that the key to helping the African-American community succeed and ensure economic stability is to approach the situation using a scalpel not a toothbrush. Prioritization is key and a foundation must be laid. What is a house without foundation. All the issues that I highlighted above deserve the royal treatment, not this. Who gives a shit about saving $315, when you can't vote, don't have access to a quality education, and can't  report your alleged rapist for fear you will have to prove that you were legitimately raped. Nike, the LeBron X Nike Plus, and that $315 will mean nothing. 

But hey, what do I know!

Sound off.........

1) Is Nike's releasing of the LeBron X Nike Plus an issue? if so, should the National Urban League be fighting it?

2)Would you spend $315 on a pair of sneakers?

3) Should any business ax their business plans due to the economic impacts of a specific demographic?
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