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May 24, 2003

Black Unity in 1986

The following is directly from something I wrote in about May 1986, not long before I finally gave in, read Toni Morrison for the first time and broke off from my Buppie friends. Just smell the Thomas Sowell..

Black American Unity doesnt work. There are too many different kinds of blacks in this country (even though many people deny it) for it ever to work. As long as this society is stable and wealthy, there will never be any need for it.Any modern day Americn citizen is fortunate because public school is still public and the libraries are still free. Grass roots unity is ineffective in creating wealth, and wealth is the only avenue to power in the United States.

No amount of unity will ever cure the problems of individuals without undermining their free will. Unity for black causes isjust as powerful and oft abused as patriotism. Its underlying strength is subjugation of self to the will of a certain segment of society. More often than not the will of that segment is at odds with the individual.

In this respect, unity undermines individual judgement, the result: proliferation of nonsence.

What has this got to do with buppies? Well, everything.

Lets take a simple defintion ofupscale as an upwardly mobile professional (at any age). This then is someone who has a career (as opposed to ajob) and is actively interested in economic advancement (as opposed to just paying the bills). How blacks tend to have problems with the label, I would guess has a lot to do with the fact that some blacks cant accept socio-economic estrangement from the millions of blacks who suffer from the legacy of slavery. Thus, a call for Unity. If a buppie is an upscale black someone who does not heed that call, then we have one definition. I dont think thats the whole story but it will work for starters.

In this respect, Im a buppie. Big Deal. In fact, all of the kids next door used to call me house nigger whenever my mother would call me home to dinner. Today, most of them are drugged out. So according to American Middle-Class and 3 dozen other standards, I won, they lost. I rarely speak to them, yet we have a childhood in common. Its been a matter ot choice, values and of cash that has made the differences in our lives. But I am not into any superiority complex. The world is big enough for all of us. Call me what you want, I dont seek to belong.

Anyone who compares buppies to house niggers could be right, but I cant imagine that every upscale black is some type of slave. As silly as these labels can get, I do beleive there is a difference between an legitimate upscale black and a Buppie. In short, buppies are playing games, upscale is a compliment. Still, they are only labels. Blacks that can deal with these labels have no problem.

The Greenhouse crowd, from my experience is upscale. These seem to be responsible mature folks who have worked hard to make the progress which is apparent by their mode of speach and attire. If they are snotty about it, Lam not put off. A guy like me cant get a dance at the Carolina West, so were even. Maybe some of them are fake, but I didnt interview the whole club.

I have found that there are certain crowd of blacks that Ijust dont fit into. The reasons are as various as the numbers of groups. There is a highly fashionable party crownd in LA that looks at my type sideways. I can never seem to get the attention of any woman who would consider Eric Dickerson a fine catch. In my own way I am casting aspersions onto these different tastes. Everybody does that; its how we live with ourselves. I can remember when I would rather be shot than caught in a blue pinstripe suit. I can no mare say that I kiss ass by wearing a tie than a football player kisses ass by wearing cleats. Its part of the uniform.
So are we talking about appearances and tastes or are we talking about fundamental motivations and values?

An interesting place to go is the Comedy Act Theater in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. There, every Thursday and Friday, are about 6 stand-up comics per night. The crowd is mixed black (upscale and not), the comics are black, the humor varies. Jheri-Curl jokes are funny but only when the comic is addressing an individual heckler. Ugly wife jokes get more laughs. Nobody does white-folk black-folk jokes any more. Welfare jokes dont work.

I know that I tend to be tediously detailed in my responses. The reason I am so versed in this particularly narrow and bizarre subset of the study of human behaviour has everything to do with my upbringing. My parents, because of their definition of serious blackness, felt that their best contribution to society would take the form of social work. Both of them worked their ways up the Los Angeles County beauracracy of the Welfare & Public Health systems. My father knows it forwards and backwards as well as the politicians and programs it has bred. He has seen it all. Now he is getting a masters degeree in business. He is not and never could be a callous man. He still has an I Love Watts bumper sticker. Still, his actions tell a lot about what is and is not possible in the search for the betterment of our fellow man on the unfortunate bottom of American society. A lot of what appears to be selling out on the surface (in any context-not just the Black Unity context) is really the sane alternative to work that can never be finished.

When it comes to the issues of how truly desparate people are treated, I can see a need for much concern. Frankly, everything that can be done is known and can be done. It just requires a lot of sacrifice on behalf of people that really care and are truly dedicated. That progress takes place on an individual basis from the George McKennas and the Mother Theresas of the world, NOT in the form of social programs borne on the backs of taxpaying citizens or businesses.

On the other hand, if some upper middle-class black calls some lower middle-class black some name or they avoid each others company for WHATEVER reason, I could care less. Im sick and tired of listneing to pseudo-victims and advocates for pseudo-victims. Ive seen what a eal ghetto looks like. Ive been to Tijuana. Ive very little sympathy for any American with any job who can speak English. That goes double for black, Italian and Irish ethnics who have made so much progress through political machinations rather than economic contributions to society.

The question appears to be is Who is a Serious Black, who is a Buppie who is a house nigger. The point is that America has room for all of them and any future variation. Black people are the stupidest in the world when they say that there is one kind of agenda for all blacks, even if what some blacks do is utterly stupid. (follow?) For some nebulous goal of unity we self-censor our fellow men and our children who look up to us. The end result is that we cannot accept some kinds of blacks and we look upon their problems as particularly black problems.

If there are Buppies in a negative sence (ass-kissing corporate slaves) its because there are Yuppies (ass-kissing corporate slaves). Misguided folks anywhere can always find equally misguided role models. Buppies and Yuppies alike suffer the same identity crisis, which in my view stems from a lack of character that they think an abundance of money can overcome. Since both groups tend to cluster in packs they start preaching thier own brand of exclusive unity and we are back at square one. It doesnt particularly bother me that there are people like this in the world; they are not criminal.In my mind any uppy is pathologic but not dangerous.

Really, who cares about Buppies when there are drug dealers with much more economic clout in the Black community?

Posted by mbowen at May 24, 2003 10:29 AM

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