Class and Black Elites

Brent Staples writes that Black elites held
class antipathies toward poor Blacks, similar to white upper class antipathy
toward poor whites.

Little known to those outside the culture, black elites have held class antipathies toward poor blacks in a way similar to white upper class antipathies toward poor whites according to Brent Staples in Sunday’s New York Times. He writes of the growing awareness of class among Blacks in the aftermath of remarks by comedian Bill Cosby last year about poor parenting among some Black families.

Staples says class has always been a part of black society, as it has been in white society. However, racial discrimination by the majority culture made it seem black society was homogenous. In fact, it was as subtly tiered as white society.

Staples says Cosby’s remarks have brought new attention to class attitudes in black society, noting that even among blacks the awareness of class antagonisms has been unknown by many.

In white society, class is mostly denied, or rendered as insignificant. To do so is a convenient device. It justifies the existing order while also placing blame on the poor for their plight.
Class remains something we’d rather deny or shove under the carpet. Cosby opened old wounds and has provided us the chance to talk about a subject most of us seem unable or unwilling to attend to seriously.

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