One of the best snapshots of today’s shopping culture is a line down the block of patrons, some who’ve slept overnight, ready to spend a bundle on the sneaker of the moment on its opening day. Nike has taken full advantage of such shoppers, re-releasing sneakers from the ever-popular Jordan brand and now planning to sell the ‘Lebron X’ sneaker for $315.

The shoe will be the most expensive in Nike history. For the hefty price tag, you’ll get a sneaker that includes its own electronics. But civil rights organization, The National Urban League, is not buying into the hype.

President Marc Morial released a statement condemning Nike for the steep price:

“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.”

He called the shoe an “empty status symbol” which embodies “twisted priorities and confused values.”

While it is disheartening to see young people splurge on sneakers, some feel that rather than condemn Nike, we should examine the wider capitalist culture that encourages this type of spending. Afterall, if it’s not the Nike ‘Lebron X’s, it will be another sneaker, shoe, purse or jacket that people spend an exorbitant amount of money on as a symbol of status.

Speak on it, Clutchettes and Gents: Should Nike be slammed? Is the National Urban League fighting a losing battle?

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