This is a post written by Professor Tracey over at Aunt Jemima's Revenge.
I like it when folks talk about the nuances of the Black community. No, we all don't look alike. We all don't think alike. And, there is a history in our community too. I appreciated this post because it goes into more depth than anything the MSM could come up with about Black folk. THEY THINK they know ' Uppity' Negroes. We all know, they don't have a clue.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The Obamas Are Not Elite....And That Is Fine With Me
Every time I hear mainstream media journalists and right wing pundits call Barack and Michelle Obama elitist, I become absolutely more convinced than ever that white America has absolutely no clue about the lives of black people, other than what they see on television or the movies or what other people tell them.
Let's make this clear - Barack and Michelle Obama are not elitist, they are not members of the black elite, period, end of discussion. If the requirement for being elite like the Obamas is having an Ivy League degree, really good jobs with decent salaries, and a nice house, then a whole lot of black people are elite. And we all know that's far from the truth.
The Obamas are not rich nor wealthy by any elite standard, in fact until Barack Obama started writing best-selling books that earned him significant financial gains, Michelle Obama was the family breadwinner, earning more than double Barack's salary. Truth be told, Barack and Michelle Obama are barely one generation removed from poverty. Far from elite indeed.
Unless the Obamas are leaving this information out of their personal biographies, the Obamas are not members of The Links, Jack and Jill of America, or The Divine Nine. The Obamas don't have a summer home on Martha's Vineyard....(Valerie Jarrett does) or Sag Harbor, where many of the real black elite are currently sipping mint juleps right now. I also don't believe that either Obama had a cotillion that "introduced" them to society.
Even black billionaires like Oprah Winfrey and Bob Johnson cannot be considered elite. They like the Obamas are one generation away from poverty. And Jay-Z and his new wife Beyonce, are certainly in the billionaire range when financially standing together, but no one is going to call them elitists anytime soon, no matter how many Gucci bags or Bentley's they buy. No black actor or athlete either. Director Spike Lee and his wife Tonya can be considered more of the black elite than the Obamas. Lee's money may be new, but his wife's social pedigree makes the difference.
Lawrence Otis Graham who wrote, Member of the Club and Our Kind of People, can tell you who and what makes one a member of the black elite. These are black folks that even the average black person maybe unaware of and most certainly the average white person is clueless about. Black generations of wealth, power, and prosperity, like the Kennedys, the Bushes, and the Vanderbilts. (You don't actually believe that CNN's Anderson Cooper has to work, with his mama being Gloria Vanderbilt?) The Johnsons of The Johnson Company and Ebony magazine are part of the Black Elite, three generations removed from their founding grandfather's humble beginnings.
With that said, it's not a criticism to say the Obamas are not elite, it's more of a correction. A correction that is important. The Obamas are like a lot of everyday successful people, black or white. They came from humble beginnings and overcame all the obstacles to become successful. If they desire a larger slice of the American dream, more money, more power, more advantages for their children, that does not make they elitists, it makes them ambitious, hardworking, and driven.
Successful people are successful because they have dreams and goals, they don't stop once they have achieved their dreams and goals, they make new ones, like running for president of the United States. That's not elitist, that's the American dream.
Posted by Professor Tracey at 12:10 AM
My own addendum to this. One of my guilty pleasures is the blog The Black Socialite. Searching through its archives, I discovered that no post had ever been done on Michelle Obama. I thought it was quite odd, considering that she could possibly become The First Lady. So, I emailed the site owner. In a very polite email, she informed me that hers was a blog about people who had been involved in Society, and Michelle Obama didn't qualify. There is, though, a nice little sidebar, congratulating Senator Obama on being the Presumptive Nominee.
I had to chuckle. I could have been snarky and reminded her that I had just seen a post on Dark Sith marrying Snowflake, but the possible Black First Lady didn't rate a post. But, snark is so 'impolite'...LOL. And, if there's anything to be said about ' Our Kind of People', they are mannerly and polite. I understood where she was coming from...so, come on, Senator Obama. The only way Michelle's gonna rate a mention is if she ACTUALLY becomes First Lady. THEN, she will not be ignored...LOL