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are these Black diamonds for real?

I MUST start this column by confessing that I do not, in the least, like the term "Black Diamonds".

In fact, I find it rather irritating, contrived and showing a desire to classify certain people in perception terms. How do you know that someone is a Black Diamond?

Obviously they have to be black, in most cases dress or drive their money and be seen dining in hip and happening eateries.

To my mind Black Diamond is a term used to describe individuals who are outwardly driven by the esteem they receive from those they wish to impress by what they wear or drive - even for a short while.

As a result Black Diamonds are the target market for anything that will validate them.

As far as I am concerned it is a derogatory term, possibly invented by some white marketing manager whose knowledge of black folks is probably limited to what he or -she read in old marketing textbooks.

Oh, actually I should not sound so annoyed. Maybe there are "White Diamonds" that I have not woken up to! If you know of any, please let me know, I'd like to market my products and services to them.


Truth is, the term is there. It's used as a level descriptor and, strangely enough, there are black folks who are comfortable with being referred to as Black Diamonds and even aspire to be classified as such.

The term was invented and given significance based on access to spending power in the form of cash or credit.

But things have changed. Times are tougher, with a recession on us. The lavish lifestyle of Black Diamonds is taking a knock.

Suddenly owning a holiday home, a second car, a boat and living beyond one's means is proving to be unsustainable.

I hope we come out of the recession having learnt a lesson about money working for us rather than our chasing it to define us.

This calls for introspection and possibly to redefine what economic empowerment means to us.

For as long as we see money as an object to make the "I am OK" statement, to friends, former colleagues, ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, ex-husbands or ex-bosses, without thorough thought of immediate affordability, we are bound to make short-term decisions with long-term negative consequences.

Black Diamonds do not live a self-sufficient and sustainable life because they earn to spend. They don't take part actively and meaningfully in wealth creation.

In essence, as a consequence of yielding to the desire to live a lavish and excessive materialistic lifestyle, when Black Diamonds are retrenched, it is with little or no means to sustain themselves - at least until they find another job.

Think twice before you spend to impress!

l The writer is founder and MD of Dual Point Consulting, a Leadership and Management Development Consultancy. Catch him every morning on Metro FM Morning Jam's Bizz Buzz.

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