There is a secret depression that is rooted in economics that many Black men battle. It is hidden underneath an assortment of layers including an exaggerated bravado, drug and alcohol abuse, misdirected anger, and other forms of destructive behavior. Fantastical illlusions are also a tool that is deployed to cope with the humbling realities of an often marginalized existence.
The “Bow Wow Challenge” that took over social media earlier in the month was a reflection of a daily pattern of illusions for many. Some aspect of Bow Wow fronting like he was traveling on a private plane instead of his actual reality of flying coach on a commercial airline is frequently in operation for Black people in this country.
For all of the trips, fancy purses, and Jordan-brand shoes the truth is that the vast majority of us are barely scraping by. Credit, celebrities, and trinkets have given many of us the illusion that we are doing much better economically than we actually are. We have been bamboozled by Facebook likes, hoodwinked by Instagram comments, and led astray by Twitter retweets. Social media has a tendency to tell you a lot of things that aren’t true.
The data suggest that the majority of African Americans are not in a great place financially. A prime example of this is a finding from the “The Color of Wealth in Boston” report that found that the median net worth of White households in Boston is $247,500 while the median net worth of Black households is $8.