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.
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
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???