Friday, June 3, 2011

My Measuring Stick

I just found out I'm not middle class.

That may come as a shocker since the "middle class" is the most nebulous grouping of Americans in the country, and the one group that the vast majority of us believe we belong to. And I didn't get this newsflash thanks to new information on economic figures.

Nope, I found out I wasn't middle class thanks to this article.

The piece discusses a new study by a black scholar that says that middle class black people are no longer angry. Apparently, in 1994, despite their jobs, degrees and opportunities, middle class black people were practically seething with rage. They were angry about discrimination, glass ceilings and blatant injustice. That anger has subsided now.

So clearly, given my activities here on the Internet, I can't be middle class. I'm much too angry.

Now to be fair, the article notes that nobody believes discrimination is all gone. They just believe that the spirit-stealing hardships of the past have been cleared up and with a little elbow grease and dedication it's possible to achieve whatever you would like to achieve. Interesting.

It's not that I disagree with this, it's that improvement does not eradicate my anger. It was an improvement in 1994 that black people had nicer jobs and homes compared to 1974.

It was an improvement that in 1994 black people couldn't be beaten with complete impunity by the police like they could in 1984. After all, even the Rodney King beating case went to trial, which wouldn't have happened a decade earlier. That, to some people, is an improvement.

But, improvement is only acceptable in certain situations. Honestly, I don't see an American meritocracy as being particularly hard to attain if people wanted to make it happen.

I don't see the end of prejudice and racism as some unattainable goal. It's not on the same level as living a life free of sin. I don't feel inclined to give brownie points for improvement when the only reason the problem exists is because people are willfully and maliciously mistreating folks who look like me.

Sorry, no gold stickers for you.

Yes, black life is better now than it's ever been, but that just proves how horribly black people have been treated in this country since we were forcibly given a one-way vacation to these shores.

If a husband beats his wife, do we praise him if cuts down from five times a week to twice a week? Do we care if someone reduces their child molestation from an annual endeavor to a bi-annual thing?

No we don't. Some activities are so ridiculous that nothing is acceptable but a complete repudiation. That's how I view racism and discrimination. That is why I'm still angry.

It's all or nothing.



LisaMJ said...

Yeah, when I saw that article the other day I was wondering who he was talking to and then shrugged my shoulders and said, "this doesn't apply to me."

I agree with you about things being better but they still have a way to go and better doesn't get us to where we need to be.

lifelearner said...

*Co-sign* with what Big Man has written. I think this guy is drinking the Kool-Aid as it pertains to ending of our anger. I know that for me it's more so frustration at the daily "isolated" incidents of social injustice seen in this world. I blame the Obama effect. Now that there's a Black president in the USA, everyone is happy, singing, shucking and jiving.

Raving Black Lunatic