The Black Bourgeoisie

The Book That Brought the Shock of Self-Revelation to Middle-Class Blacks in America

E. Franklin Frazier’s Black Bourgeoisie was more prophetic than many realized. Frazier, who addressed the burgeoning black middle class, expressed concern about the intra class conflict vis-a-vis socioeconomic status of black folks. Frazier notes that the black middle class was in a rush by the 1960s to assimilate. During the Harlem Renaissance, even W.E.B. Du Bois “strategically included white judges on panels for their black literary competitions, in hopes that white approval would add luster to black achievements.” This shift that occurred was not a mass or universal one. The black middle class was still small and would not be catapulted until after the advent of Affirmative Action.

The debate over true liberalism among blacks still exist. I have found the upper black middle class to be far more conservative and less active towards civil rights and social policy of late. I am concerned that the black bourgeoisie is willing to shift its focus away from the liberalism that put them in their position for racial acceptance. I believe integration is vital to a liberal society as noted by my neighborhood, friends, and place of employment; however, I do not think the black middle class should play the conservative card that carries with it values, attitudes, and behaviors that do not represent progress for all minority groups. Sure 90% of blacks vote in a solid block for the Democratic Party, but that block is not as tight as it used to be.

Here are a few observations about the black middle class:

  1. Homophobia and anti-gay attitudes are pervasive as seen by the fact that many black Americans are anti-gay marriage
  2. Affirmative action policies, though it helped many ascend to middle class status, are no longer needed
  3. Black politicians are needed to protect the economic status of the black middle class, not to speak about social justice
  4. Black liberals have no focus and can no longer speak for the burgeoning black middle class
  5. Intra racism has long been the standard among blacks of different shades of blackness
  6. Academic underachievement is the result of the black home, not institutional problems such as racism dating back to Jim Crow

Saij over at Good Tithings has an interesting post on this topic.

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15 Comments

Filed under Black People, Class, DuBois, Education, History

15 responses to “The Black Bourgeoisie

  1. jen

    I see your pointI noticed that black people have the biggest problem with gay people being an official minority group. How is that progress? Blacks and Republicans united for the first time since Lincoln.

  2. Berry

    You are saying there is no one single value that all Americans should adhere to. This sounds an advocation for further ideological and racial gaps in society. If the mainstream sictates what should be don’t you believe that minority groups such as the balck middle class do the same?

  3. Jaylon

    I think you are being nice to the black middle class. We are bad and at times hypocritical towrds the poor and gays.

  4. Pingback: The Future of Black America « Good Tithings

  5. tin man

    Black Americans realize that cultural assimilation is the only way to function in a nation dominated by white Americans. They own, for the most part, all aspects of the business and educational realm. Blacks must speak the write English, act and behave in a particular way, and associate with whites. This is just reality. I know, does this make a black person an Uncle Tom. Hey, Uncle Tom isgetting paid these days.

  6. Jaylon

    Tin man,

    Do you realize what you are saying? Black people must be white to be smart and advanced. we must act and behave like “Bobby” or we will be viewed as inferior. Think about this some more.

  7. Matt S

    “…I do not think the black middle class should play the conservative card that carries with it values, attitudes, and behaviors that do not represent progress for all minority groups.”

    When minorities find success they should be thrilled to discover high taxes? They should be happy for the federal government to increase its power over their daily lives? They should embrace standing traditional marriage on its head? They should be pleased with current abortion rates? They should be happy to give out freebie after freebie after they put in the individual effort to be successful?

    Was it really the liberal policies that brought the folks to the middle or upper class, or the conservative policies? To be honest, I think there was a bit of both.

    To chide minorities for breaking ranks toward conservatism…that sounds like liberal fundamentalism! :D

  8. To chide minorities for breaking ranks toward conservatism…that sounds like liberal fundamentalism! ….Ha,ha, ha.

    Matt S – your contention furthers my point. Who will defend pluralism and other minority groups with a small voice? One cannot kick the ladder down once he of she uses policies designed to eliminate racism from the formula.

  9. Jason Keuter

    You have completely missed the most striking contemporary affirmation of Frazier’s book. He pointed out that the black bourgeoisie relies on and exploits the condition of the black lower classes in order to exact for themselves advantages and benefits from whites. That middle-class blacks are closet conservatives is not the problem: that they aren’t more openly so is the problem: the modern black bourgeoisie suffers from a crisis of doubt- doubt that they can maintain their status without affirmative action and other race-based preferences and advantages. How does the black middle class get these advantages? By pointing to the problems of lower class blacks to demonstrate the “reality” of racism and the need for such things as affirmative action, the benefits of which go pretty much exclusively to the black bourgeoisie.

  10. ConscientousObjector

    I agree
    but truthfully even amongst Africans and not even amongst African-AMERICANS , Racism has always existed.
    I recently heard an uncle of mine say of another group of people from our country
    “yeah those __ cant do a thing right”
    to which my own father replied
    “well it is because we crawled out of the slime long before them” (rough translation)

    where I live now its better to be black than a traveller or knacker as they call them .This being particularly absurd as many knackers are related to settled families.And as a forgeiner, yeah they do all kinda look the same

    The view I take it is Man will always look for away to use anothers disadvantage or misfourtune to further himself. No misfourtune exisiting he will find away to undermine another -generally another he is jealous of or fearful of or just doesnot like. All for the advancement of his own interests

    In the case posted by the original author here I think capitalism has more of the blame to take than anything to do with Race.

  11. OMG. How many of the 10,000 blacks heading to Boston for the Urban League conference are Black Bourgeoisie?

    If a lot are, and I suspect they will be– then we hope to be of service. We wish to study the bourgeoisie further. We’re black, probably should be bourgeoisie-like but I don’t think we are.

    Are they? I’m not sure really. Its okay to be conservative about a lot of things.

    Well, Boston awaits them Julyh 25th thru 30th and this is who the Urban League says they are: “Experience the Nation’s most diverse and dynamic gathering of business, political and community leaders at the 2011 National Urban League Conference…”

  12. I still think it odd that this was published after Franklins From Slavery to Freedom and yet, seeminngly more definitively historical

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