Black Middle Class

Black Middle Class: The Hidden Struggle of the Cosby’s

The second portion of The Black Community topics focuses on the issues facing the more fortunate members of the Black Community and how they can be both positively and negatively interpreted.

The 3 Questions:

1. Is this discussion out dated?

2. Do Black people stereotype themselves?

3. Is there any validity to the middle class Blacks having it harder than lower class Blacks?


Although conventional wisdom would lead Americans to believe the richer the better, this isn’t necessarily true in the Black Community.  Believe it or not, there is a divide drawn along monetary lines. It is often times the catalyst to the misused insult “sellout.”  Blacks in the middle class,  however, float between two worlds:  the misconceptions of whites in their schools and neighborhoods and the misconception from Blacks that are not in their schools and neighborhoods.  This places the Black middle class in the limbo of trying to prove themselves on two different fronts that collide to create no win situations.  Damned if you underachieve because you represent your race, and damned if you succeed because you have seemingly abandoned your race.  Does the existence of the Black middle class somehow help to destroy the Black community?

Please write in and respond to our 3 poll questions or post some questions that you would like to see discussed.  These questions and more will be addressed during the discussion found on YouTube beginning on  1/28/2014.  This video was filmed July 7, 2012.

Black Middle Class Part 1

Black Middle Class Part 2

Black Middle Class Part 3

4 thoughts on “Black Middle Class”

  1. 1. Is this discussion out dated?

    No, but the discussion needs to advance to address current issues / current events impacting the black middle class (to things like wealth creation/financial freedom, debt slavery and the role the middle class should be playing to help the lower class).

    2. Do Black people stereotype themselves?

    Yes, many probably do. The problem comes when folks start identifying with negative stereotypes and the negative stereotype becomes a self-fullfilling prophecy.

    3. Is there any validity to the middle class Blacks having it harder than lower class Blacks?

    Yes. The middle class, in many cases, represents the “working poor” where folks are educated, may have jobs, property, etc, but have no real wealth and a whole lot of debt (student loans, mortgage, car note, etc). From the outside, many look like they’re doing great.. But in actuality, many have negative to zero net worth and are really just treading water. For many years in this country, a family’s house was the primary source of wealth. The housing and financial crisis of 2008 – present has virtually wiped-out the middle class across the board and killed the primary source of wealth creation in this country. This is a HUGE issue and should be at the forefront of any conversation about the black middle class / middle class in general. Add to that, many in the middle class have lost their jobs and those who still have jobs are left to carry a growing tax burden (which, by the way is primarily funding interest payments on the national debt, Obama’s illegal wars in north Africa and the broader miltary industrial complex – while the well for education, social security, medicare and medicaid runs dry). Lastly, most middle class families do not qualify for government assistance, and are left out to dry in depression-like economic conditions.

    I’m curious to hear people’s thoughts on the middle class from these angles..

  2. 1. Is the discussion outdated?

    No, the discussion is valid and does fit modern times, because we still segment ourselves between being a “Hood Black” or any “Uppity Black.” We take it upon ourselves to separate ourselves due to financial and social classes. Racism still exist among Black people.

    2. Do Black people stereotype themselves?

    Yes we do. The fact that we do it to each other, as with Jalen Rose and Grant Hill debate, is disheartening. It is bad enough we are stereotyped in the media, by other races etc., but to continue to debate issues among each other is a shame. Yes, some struggle more than others, but we share a common ancestry and a common struggle regardless of our financial class. Plus, with the Black middle class eroding due to economic changes, we are going to have to learn to live among each other and not judge one another.

    3. Is there any validity to the middle class Blacks having it harder than lower class Blacks?

    Yes and no. Yes the middle class Black has it harder in a sense because they have to battle with the question “Am I Black enough?” But the everyday struggle of providing a home and food for our families the working class Black has it much harder.

  3. 1. Is this discussion out dated?

    I think that this discussion is right on time. I believe that the Black community is becoming more and more separated as we become more and more americanized and obsessed with how much we do and don’t have. A casualty of this americanization is our ability to unite and live amongst one another regardless of our financial situation. We have been bamboozled into thinking that moving away from our people is equivalent to moving up in the world. I will admit that the “neighborhood” culture now, is troubling and that in many cases no one in their right mind would want to subject themselves or their children to such an environment. However, I feel that if we had another example in the “neighborhood” the better off the neighborhood would be, thanks integration…but thats another topic.

    2. Do Black people stereotype themselves?

    Of course we do. I believe the saddest part of this intra battle royal is the idea that because of the way a Black person dresses, talks, what music they like, and where a person lives determines in some brothers and sisters minds how Black a person is. The Black middle class gets hit with this more than one would expect in 2011. At what point will we stop dumbing down and start smartening up?

    3. Is there any validity to the middle class Blacks having it harder than lower class Blacks?

    First off, its hard to be Black in America period. Socially, I believe that middle class Blacks have it tougher because they are stuck in between two worlds. However, in a country where a White criminal can get a call back for a job before a Black person without a record can, you can imagine how difficult life is if you are a lower class Black person. Lower class Blacks have a harder life, but the Black middle class carry the weight too.

  4. 1. Is this discussion out dated?

    No, it is not. The pressure for middle class Blacks to continue to be successful is still as applicable as ever. The alienation from either side of the class in question (meaning middle class self isolation or applied isolation from other classes) is also prevalent.

    2. Do Black people stereotype themselves?

    Absolutely, we do. We stereotype based on clothes, speech (slang or proper), skin tone, religious views, financial status, educational training, etc. The development of factions within a larger group is natural, but there should be a greater sense of unity past your immediate clique. I think one of the key factors in our lack of unity is that we do not seem to share that greater sense of brotherhood. Was that lost after integration…was it lost during slavery when we were taught to not trust each other…I am not certain. It seems like other races come to this country and begin to rise as a people due to their commitment to their community. I could be wrong, but in my view we are NOT doing a very good job of working together as a people to improve our lot in life and the lives of those we birth into this world. I think that our feeding into the stereotypes and negative press contributes greatly to that end.

    3. Is there any validity to the middle class Blacks having it harder than lower class Blacks?

    There is some validity to that argument. If the majority of Blacks are lower to lower middle class, then as a middle class Black you are going to be on an island to some degree. Where you live, where your children go to school, the social clubs and activities within convenient reach are comprised mostly of people that look different than you. This again puts you in the situation where you are a representative for your entire race, which means being on your best behavior at all times. Additionally, you have to really be a heavy contributor at your place of employment to get the salary of a middle class American while being Black. The sacrifices associated with this don’t need to be spelled out. The point is that your life inside and outside the workplace can become work, with the added burden of being viewed as not black enough for the black community and too black for the others. While trying to juggle all of this, the middle class Black is also expected to reach back and assist the Black community. If not, you become the “uppity negro” or “sell out”. I personally believe in reaching back to help those that are receptive to the message. I do believe that lower class Blacks have a rough road as well between the actual living situation and the lack of opportunity (whether self inflicted or otherwise). But in the case where someone is living out the low expectations that are placed on Blacks due to a lack of effort on their part, I think that is a much easier life than one filled with high expectations and very little downtime or room for error. The validity of the argument for middle class Blacks having it harder breaks down when you have someone in the lower class that faces the same level of alienation for trying to advance, in my opinion. They have all the same stresses without the creature comforts of middle class life.

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