Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Black Maybe

Black Maybe- situations of people of color and because you are that color you endure obstacles and opposition, not all the time from other nationalities. A lot of the time it comes from your own kind or maybe even your own mind.
-Common

So this is kind of a follow up to The District Buppie's post on "The Changing Black Middle Class". Recently as I was talkin to some of my friends, some who are bups and some who are not, we were discussing the true definition of "middle class." How much money makes you a middle class citizen. Of course this made me delve in a little farther and do some further research about this topic and of course race became a factor.

45% of Black Americans born in 1960 do worst than their parents according to John Morton, the Managing Director of the Pew Charitable Trust. The major contributing factor to this is the change in family structure. 2/3 of Black families are headed by women without husbands. I went on to listen to podcasts and got some other point of views. One mother stated that when she was growing up college was not mandatory to be successful and have a decent job. However, she has a hardworking son with a family and they are struggling to make it due to the rising cost of living and the wages staying the same. It was also asked does mid 50's salary make you solid middle class? Ellis Coast a columnist for Newsweek said that 50K pretty much just makes you able to stay afloat.

Now here is the part that really got me. While listening to an episode of NPR's talk of the Nation a white doctor called and explained how his parents were not wealthy when he was growing up but they still had the means to get him through college and medical school. He went on to say that many Blacks can not do this because they have no Accumulated Wealth. He believes that Blacks never had the chance to attain this due to slavery and believes that reparations can rectify the situation. It is true that blacks who make the same as whites do not have the same reserves for wealth and according to one study blacks have 8% of the wealth of whites even if they are making the same amount of money. And blacks who are considered middle class are

A) First generation doing so and possibly do not have a tight grasp on their job so it can change at any time

OR

B) Two working class poor people combined making middle class money. (However much that is?)

Another issue that was brought up that alters middle class status among blacks is incarceration. Even if incarcerated after being released it is very difficult to find decent work and harder to achieve the American Dream. A friend of mind honestly believes, after being in jail 3 times, that slanging is the only way he can make the money he wants. I argue with him all the time that that is BS but hey what do you do? He said he has tried it the honest way and was evicted and almost got his car re-po'ed because he could not afford all of his expenses. But with his current lifestyle he is supporting his family and has a house. (I mean what about taxes tho?!) That's just him!

All of this made me think about Common's song Black Maybe. It is sad for me to believe that we as blacks are so far behind. Granted some of us are out here living the American Dream many are out here struggling due to no fault of their own. Just because the sh*t is difficult. Maybe the good doctor was right. REPARATIONS FOR EVERYONE! Yeah right then Black America will look like that Dave Chapelle skit. I know one thing I am very driven to do better than my parents and that is mostly due to the drive they have instilled in me. I haven't made it yet, hence my name Up&Coming, however, I am doing pretty decent being that I have been out of school for 2 years and already switched jobs to get a SIGNIFICANT pay increase. But many people who go to school are still struggling. College makes very little difference these days. Let's face it, it is hard to move from one class to another. And if you are reading this thinking no it's not consider yourself lucky! Education is the best way to narrow the gap but still is it an equal shot to the top. How many of your parents could pay for you to get through undergrad, grad, law school, med school, etc and consider themselves middle class like the good doctor mentioned earlier in this post?

How does Black America climb out of this hole and reach the promise land???

4 comments:

The District's Buppie said...

Give me my reparations!!!

Anonymous said...

How do we as Black Americans get out of the whole??? I think we should take advantage of what can do naturally, and use that as means to an end. What do I mean?? SPORTS!!

Every major sport is dominated by African Americans. I strongly believe that if we use sports to level the educational playing field, then we give ourselves a better opportunity to reach that "middle class." Not to mention the life lessons that are only learned playing sports: i.e. integrity, perseverance, discipline, work ethic etc., all of which promotes success in the real world!

Sports on a college level is very much a business. The more games that are won, or even played, the conferences give the schools 100's of thousands of dollars. Example, my school which is a D1aa school played a very lousy D1 school. Although we lost, they gave us 250k. Wow...If that doesnt make sense, then what does??

Some say playing sports in college is similar to slavery. You may remember from higher learning when Ice Cube was talking to Omar Epps and he told him to "run n word Run." They may be true to a certain extent, but as much as they are using you, use them back!!

With out the god given athletic talent, I would not have been able to attend one of the nations most prestigious universities. Playing sports has earned me my B.A. and my M.S. for the price of...ON THE HOUSE, or FREE ninety-nine as Kanye says.

What say you???

--The Intellectual Athlete

The District's Buppie said...

To the Intellectual Athlete:

What I say is: I beg to differ.

I agree that Afr-Amer are gifted in sports, but to think that athletics is our salvation.. smh you are trippen on acid!!!

The truth is that being an athlete does not give us Accumulated Wealth!

The real wealth in athletics is owning the teams/ franchise! How many of color are really out there? I think like less than 5.

Many athletes do not even reproduce their wealth in there community. Seldom do we hear they are investing in a business other then their failing apparel lines. (like the community really needs another t-shirt or another effin sneaker)

Athletics our savior???.. GTFOH..

Now when you speak of letting it aid in your pursuit of education, then it acts as a catalyst to your pursuit. Education is the key. All the ways to build accumulated wealth are out there.

The folks who own teams, having a degree is the norm, not the exception, some of them mofos have never even touched or played in that sport.

Anonymous said...

District Buppie,

Do I think sports are our saviour??? Absolutely NOT!!! I think you've miss understood the point that I was trying to make.

In regards to accumulated wealth: education is the key!! How many folks on the street, that arent college educated, actually have an idea of what that "accumulated wealth" is? I'm gonna guess not many. The point I'm making is give yourself the best opportunity to be informed, and make an educated decisions!! I chose, and continue to see youth use sports as the soil from which their opportunities spring!

As for athletes giving back...
I think you've dropped the ball again. There are soooo many professional athletes who give back to thier communities and not through sneakers or apparel. The most obvious, and most helpful are sports camps and donations to high school athletic programs! This type of help helps fine tune and sharpen skills that allow youth to play in college.

--Intellectual Athlete

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