Saturday, August 26, 2006

I want to address this..

Wikipedia isn't exactly the best source of knowledge indeed for some is it a very raw source but I saw these two paragraphs under a section for the Black Middle Class under the article African American contemporary issues.

Generally, the black middle class has the opinion that persistence of the poor black working class concentrated in the inner city or rural areasm which carries with it all the cyclical pathologies associated with poverty, and continues to plague "blacks as a group", i.e., to draw media attention away from the more fortunate and affluent members of the black community. The black middle class tends to believe that the presence of a large portion of poor blacks in the country distorts the collective image of blacks.

Just as whites and others who have risen into the bourgeoisie have historically looked down upon the working class from which they originated, many in the black middle class believe that the blacks who are left behind in poor and working class conditions are actually lazy and ignorant. Many blacks who progressed from inner city slums to the suburbs often express detached feelings toward blacks remaining in ghettos. This is especially true of black athletes, doctors, actors, and so forth. [5]. Renowned black comedian Bill Cosby has spoken out to this effect.

I'm sure there are those of us who do this. It is pretty easy to do. The flip side of this is that there are those who aren't very well to do who will look at middle class blacks with a certain amount of envy, hatred, or whatever verb is appropriate here. Tough call of course unfortunately the answer isn't going to be to just run away from those left behind and then call them lazy.

One could say that way back when in say Bronzeville blacks of all classes could live next door to each other. Today one can say this may not be all that true in black communities. Well I don't know the question is what should we do with the less fortunate in the black community call them lazy or do what we can to make success a great cultural value. And that's not to say that's the only thing.

Well what say you?

1 comment:

Thomas Westgard said...

I'm poorly qualified to have an educated opinion on the topic, but I thought it was interesting that the Wikipedia article said nothing about the differing experiences of Americans of African descent whose ancestors were slaves, versus Americans of African descent whose ancestors arrived more recently, say, within the last 20 years. My conversations with Blacks of both descriptions indicate that their experiences of being Black in America differ significantly.

U.S. immigration law was changed relatively recently, in a way that allows in far more Black Africans than ever before. The criteria today for entry depend a lot more on education and other personal accomplishments. In earlier times, we've seen a lot of Chinese, Koreans, and Indians immigrate - some of them open grocery stores in majority Black neighborhoods. Now we're seeing more highly-accomplished Africans enter as immigrants for the first time in American history.

It should be interesting to see how that changes the debate about race in America. I grew up across the street from a genteel Indian Ph.D. who was born into a low-caste family and a dirt-floor shack in India, and lived for a while in South Africa under apartheid. Surely, we will all benefit from having people of African ethnic heritage, born into similar conditions, come to the U.S. to find out exactly how much being Black in America is a matter of skin color, and how much is a matter of culture and attitude.

In twenty years or so, we can see whether African-born blacks (and their children) go to prison at rates similar to American-born blacks, or (hopefully) at rates similar to foreign-born Asians (and their children). I won't pretend to know the answer, but when we get there, we'll all have to do some serious reevaluation of our American culture(s).

Either way, I'm looking forward to the discussions that ensue. The one thing that's truly unacceptable is a continuation of the status quo, and this presents a chance to identify a source problem and attack it.

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