Are You a Black Snob? Calling Out Classism In Newly-Privileged Black Folks.
"Rich" has never meant "better"
June 23, 2017 at 11:50 am
I just love scrolling down my social media timelines, it’s where I go to see #BlackExcellence in action. Graduation photos, vacation slideshows, and new job announcements are always in abundance and there’s nothing like knowing your circle of friends and associates are out here killing it. However, as I continue to scroll I notice a trend that’s concerning, to say the least.
It’s what I call, “The Snobbery.” “The Snobbery” refers to the ego that seems to come with an advanced degree or an increased paycheck. It’s the way the newly-privileged black folks condescend to underprivileged black folks. It’s snarky statuses and memes that criticize those who aren’t well-traveled, well-educated, or well-paid. There’s nothing more disgusting than watching classism on display and it needs to be addressed.
Black folks often talk about white privilege but we’ve obviously failed to check our own. There’s so many of us doing amazing things in the world but we’re losing a bit of our humanity in the process. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with celebrating your new status. However, it is unkind and unfair to turn up our nose at others who may not be able to simply “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”
Do you know how many impoverished boys and girls could probably run intellectual circles around Einstein but may never get the opportunity to attend college because they’re supporting their household? How many men and women wish they could own their own home but they struggle to pay rent in their apartment?
We must stop confusing laziness with systemic poverty.
In my previous job as a case worker for a welfare program, I came to know and understand my clients from low-income backgrounds. While some of them were quite content with their lot in life and had no plans to advance, most of them had dreams they wished to achieve but just couldn’t. A lack of financial, educational, and economic tools have derailed generations from achieving the so-called “American Dream.” There have been a set of consistent roadblocks in their way that prevent them from achieving success at even the lowest level and most it is through no fault of their own.
Even with this knowledge, I have still been guilty of being a black snob. But because I know better I try to do better. I’ve learned that “class” is not a tax bracket. It’s not the number of degrees someone has or how many stamps are in their passport. True class is using your privilege to help others in our community gain the tools they need to finally reach their full potential. If you are or have been a black snob I encourage you to check yourself and remain humble. Besides, Mama always said, “Be nice to everybody on the way up because you'll meet the same people on the way down.”