A point of contention between them is Sailer’s observation, “Black men, for whatever complicated reasons, enjoy being seen as big spenders. And car salesmen are all too willing to help them spend big," which Gladwell finds “ludicrous (not to mention offensive)”.
I’m not sure how saying a certain group people are big spenders is offensive, but is it ludicrous? This exchange caused me to experience a bit of “rapid cognition”, and triggered a recollection of once reading the statistic that black consumers spend considerably on fashionable clothing. After doing a bit of rapid googling I learned that according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City(ICIC) [as reported in American Demographics]:
"African-American inner-city shoppers are 35 percent more likely than the population as a whole to buy women's dress shoes. They're also 54 percent more likely to purchase teen boys' clothing, and 64 percent more likely than average to buy fine jewelry"This would be notable if comparing average blacks to average whites, but the comparison is to inner-city blacks, defined in the survey as:
"while American households in general spend an average of $1,069 annually on apparel, inner-city African Americans spend $1,502."
"Roughly 35 percent of African Americans and 29 percent of Hispanics in the inner city say it's important to wear fashionable clothes. And 34 percent of African Americans claim they buy most of their clothes for a new season at or before the season officially begins. Only 14 percent of the general U.S. population follows the same practice."
"economically distressed urban communities where the median household income is no more than 75 percent of the median for the entire city, and where the unemployment rate is at least 30 percent greater and the poverty rate is at least 50 percent greater than the city average."Which does not prove, of course, that black men are “big spenders”, but combined with the other circumstantial evidence (and nothing to the contrary), I would say making the intuitive leap to conclude they are is entirely reasonable.