Saturday, December 06, 2008

Black people and 'Class'.

The issue of Black folk and class has come up several times in the past few months. I admit, I've been curious, but asked for folks to give me an angle. Give me a jumping off point.

Trumystique has done that today:

The pearl/bead comments just reminded me of something.

You know those super upper crusty cotillion-debutante ball black folk? Yeah them. It occurs to me that on some level they are fuming that Michelle and Barack are making it to the White House. You know these people are GENERATIONS OF MONEY, and generations of black money, while Michelle and Barack are new money.

Old money never likes new money. So I am sure that the Obamas and especially Michelle are going to get rolled eyes, hmmphs and lots of under the breath comments of "thats so declasse!" or "thats the Southside for you" for whatever they do. Because I guess none of those old money black folk would have ever invited the Obamas to their functions back in the Chicago days.

Middle class black folk like to look down on poor black folk. And old money black folk REALLY like to look down on new upper middle class folk. Dirty little class secrets we rarely talk about.

This topic pushes a lot of buttons.

But, I don't think it's as black/white as it seems. The Obamas have been embraced by some of the Our Kind of People crowd. What do you think Valerie Jarrett is? or Desiree Rogers? She, and more importantly, her former husband, is pure Our Kind of People. Though, I do wonder what will happen with the entire D.C. crowd, who are entire PhD study unto themselves. Though, I believe Valerie Jarrett has already been greasing the wheel for that too, considering that Ann Dibble Jordan - Vernon's wife- is family. Of all the Black folk in Camp Hillpatine, it was very interesting that Vernon never clowned for Hillpatine, a la Andy Young, Bob Johnson, and others.

I think that this is a generational shift, too, for the younger crowd, even those who grew up in the Our Kind of People world, are more inclusive than their elders.

And, sigh, I know it will come up, so let's just put it out there: Michelle Obama would NEVER have gotten into any of those organizations a generation ago, and we know a big part of the reason why. Hint: paper bag.

So, discuss.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I think the Obama's had already been accepted into the Chicago elite. Granted, they rose to prominence quickly....they were around for a few years. As you mentioned (and as I myself was thinking when I read the comment)... Valerie Jarret opened a lot of doors for them.... and i'm sure they gained even more acceptance.

I think the Obama's are widely accepted as one of them. For almost 20 years they went to the same Church that the Black elite also attended...and they knew all the right people. I think a Black person enters that world once they get their Big College degrees. The Harvard education pretty much puts you in a certain position, especially for a Black person.
I just don't see the resentment based on the money/class angle.
Just look at how they were/are embraced by Black Hollywood...and the Black Rich. Look at Oprah's support for them (unprecedented for her....she never stepped out for a candidate before). Obama probably garnered more support from the Rich elite and the celebrity elite than any other candidate in modern history... how do you think he got that Billion dollars. It wasn't just from small donors. He also had to have the Star power behind him to allow him to attract supporters to events and raise money. So I just don't see a rift based on the money/class angle. The Obama's are "one of them" and have been for a while. I would say they reached full acceptance when he entered the U.S. Senate. So by the time he ran for President and won... this was not really an issue.

Now i'll tell you where the rift is.... if there is one. The intra-racial problem for the Obama's seemed to be based on Social position... not money position. I sensed Jealousy from those in the Civil Rights Industrial Complex who felt that one of their people should have gotten to Obama's position. Of course all the while they failed to realize that one of their people COULD NEVER get to that place... because voters wouldn't vote for them.... they never do. They are seen as too divisive.

But this probably cost Obama some friendships. Look back at the primaries... The Civil Rights Industrial Complex people supported Clinton overwhelmingly. Then you had the disparaging comments by Andrew young, Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson Sr., Al Sharpton and others. These guys were never crazy about Barack Obama...and are jealous as Hell of him. There was even the split with Rev. Wright along these lines... although it initially started with the media... it ended up being about Social position...

When it comes to the Civil Rights legacy... Obama is not seen as one of those who participated...or who (by blood) is connected to that world.

That has eased now of course.... now that he won the election. Towards the end... many of the Civil rights folks ended up backing him (when it was becoming clear that he had a good chance of actually winning...but not until then).