Skip to main content

Black...ish

                  
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Black..ish is a new TV show exploring the affluent black middle-class cultural identity.  The implication from the show is that black people lose their cultural identity when they become affluent.  I say the show has it wrong.  Instead of losing black culture, we see the development of a new black middle-class cultural identity.

For the first time in American history, there is now a sizable black middle-class.  There have always been educated and affluent black people but they were small in number and tended to blend into the black community and were not so visible.  They were part of the existing black community and were part of the existing black culture.  Now that we have a large and visible black middle-class, perhaps it is time to develop a black middle-class culture.

Ironically, the closest example to the development of a black middle-class is the European immigrant experience.  The first European immigrants, let's call them the founding immigrants, came here and kept many of the old country ways. Their children, the next generation,  became the hyphenated generation, Italian-American, Irish-American, and so on.  The Hyphens observed the old country ways in their homes but when they walked out the front door, they put on American clothes, went to American schools, and ate American hamburgers.  The third generation, the grandchildren, were completely assimilated and were completely American.

Black people, in many respects, are immigrants in their own country.  There was a great migration of black people from the south to the north.  They brought with them black culture that was created from slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and from the Civil Rights movement.   The next generation did become the hyphenated generation of African-Americans.  Unlike the European immigrant experience, generation here is not parent to child to grandchild.  No, this generation is a cultural generation and consists of parent, child and grandchild as one generation. The next generation is the establishment of a black middle-class identity.

I am no seer so I cannot tell what the new middle-class black identity will be.   There may be clues to be found in observing black celebrities like Jay-Z or Sean Combs. They came from hip-hop and appear to be morphing beyond their hip hop beginnings.  I can only say that in observing white culture, there will be a two black identities, The Haves and The Have-Nots.

To Mr. Johnson, the father from Black...ish, I say don't worry.  Take a look at your children's faces.  They are black and will always be black.  Unlike other immigrants, they cannot blend in and become invisible.  No amounts of American clothes or American hamburgers can change this.  Your children will always and forever be black and whatever they chose to do or not to do will automatically be Black Culture.

Comments

Vol-E said…
I haven't seen the show yet, but hope it does well. This has been remarked upon by other TV critics, but IMO, it's important enough to bring up again. Too often, comedies that start out wanting to address serious topics devolve as the networks attempt to go for the simplest common denominator: The laughs. This happened with "Good Times," where the working class family was ultimately eclipsed by Jimmie Walker yelling "Dyn-o-mite!!" a dozen times per episode, and "Family Matters," which at one point had Grandma recounting her days in the Civil Rights struggles, too soon became all about Steve "Did I do thaaaaat?" Urkel. This is a shame. I believe John Amos quit "Good Times" for this reason, and since leaving "Family Matters," Jaleel White has steadfastly refused to reprise the Urkel persona and expresses deep regrets at where the show ended up. My hat's off to the Cosby show and (to a lesser extent) "Fresh Prince" for resisting this trend, and hope there's enough money behind "Black...ish" to allow the actors to add a funny yet dignified series to their resumes.

More on "Good Times" here: http://blacklikemoi.com/2012/03/10-facts-you-may-not-know-about-the-tv-show-good-times/
The success is measured by ratings (followers for bloggers) and that is so hard to resist.

The selling out also happens at my level too. One of the book bloggers that I follow does not posts on some adult books not because he does not think them worthy but because he is afraid of upsetting his followers.

Popular posts from this blog

A Subway Journey Home

by The Urban Blabbermouth. Comments are welcome! ~ There is a ritual to theNew York City subway system. Once there, you lose your humanity.  You are transformed into a savage, brutal and selfish automaton.  Savage in that you push and shove other riders out of your way to get into the subway car.  Brutal in that you never excuse yourself for any atrocities that you commit to get in the subway car.  Selfish in that you never give up your seat to anyone, no matter how crippled or old or pregnant they are.  Automaton in that you never look at any one else as a human being.

Now there are certain strategies that you can employ to be a successful subway rider.  You can stand by the door and obstruct the way just to be selfish and ornery.  That strategy is designed to increase your standing with your fellow passengers by impressing them with how vicious you can be pushing back at people trying to push into the car.  Whenever I see this strategy employed, I immediately piggy back on it.  I move …

Gone Shopping

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Dracula escorted his newly created undead aide into the store.

"...and you need to sleep in the daytime," he explained.

"But what are we doing here in Sleepy's Mattress store?" asked his aide. "I thought we slept in coffins."

"We are modern now," replied Dracula. "We use a mattress like anyone else. I tell you, after two hundred years of sleeping on rock and dirt, this is a joy. So much more comfortable and you don't have to haul it around from place to place."

"Amazing," said the aide.

"For a newbie like you, maybe you want to go traditional. Sleepy's has a Posturedic that will fit inside a coffin."

"What do you use?" asked the aide.

"I have a sleep-number bed. I love it. Mrs. Dracula can toss and turn and I don't feel it on my side."

"Now that you mention the ladies, I think I will skip the coffin. A moo…

I Swear!

by Vol-E

I've lived in the south for over 30 years. Having grown up as a New Yorker, there were some changes to get used to once I crossed the Mason-Dixon line.

Language was a big one. My parents were well-behaved in public, but behind the closed doors of our home, they taught me all kinds of interesting vocabulary words, as they took their everyday frustrations out on one another. "Jerk" and "bastard" were two of the earliest ones, but by the time I was about eight, I knew pretty much every one of George Carlin's pet no-nos.

It was only in college that I met people who were outspokenly offended by swear words. The ones that raised eyebrows initially were related to religion. I began to think twice about using "hell" and "damn," and was politely informed one day that "God's last name is not 'dammit.'" So I gradually began censoring myself a bit, which was probably a good thing, once I joined the work force. Macy…