What does it mean to be a member of the black bourgeoisie? Is this an aspirational title? Is it measured by profession, trade, or economic resources?
I embrace the idea that we should all engage in acts of critical self-reflection when appropriate. Our conversation about Obama's performance in last night's debate where he mercilessly beat upon Mitt Romney, and the latter provided many options for a far more thorough thrashing than he received, prompted the following observation from one of our frequent commenters (the aptly named) Invisible Man:
Our President is the manifestation of Black Bourgeoisie Politics and you are the messenger. White liberals need/ promote Black Bourgeoisie politics because it attacks (and you are a intellectual pit bull at this) Republicans and the right wing who are a direct threat to them and the small Black Bourgeoisie class.I appreciate this formulation because 1) it strokes my ego and furthers a fiction that my commentaries are read by the gatekeepers and "powers that be" who have yet to send a brother a check; and 2) it suggests that there is a coincidence/coordination of strategy and tactics by critics in the black counter-public of the Right-wing's nefarious political agenda.
While this model is appealing, we must be very cautious lest the conspiranoid fantasies of conservatives about a black hive mind, and Operation Black Steel, be confirmed in the service of advancing a fiction with does not serve our collective self-interest or the Common Good.
I do wish African-Americans were so organized.
We quite simply ain't.
The reasons are many. These include the systematic targeting and destruction of black indigenous community organizations by the state, for example. An inability to rally behind a common goal--other than that of electing a Black President--is also hobbled by the class divisions within the African American community, the ethnicization of the race, and resource scarcity.
Here is a puzzle. Barack Obama is a president who happens to black. He is the Head of State and Chief Executive of the most powerful country on Earth. However, the political interests of black and brown folks remain marginalized in the public sphere (and mass public too) and our life chances are significantly diminished compared to white Americans regardless of our class backgrounds.
Moreover, there is a broad belief that the politics of black respectability ought to still be leveraged for the purpose of black self-improvement and political empowerment. In short, despite the public protests to the contrary by the black public intellectual set, we all know that Bill Cosby did not say anything about the behavior of the ghetto underclass that is not self-evident to even the most half-opened eye and/or fair observer.
But, the Black Superpublic and the Black Culture Industry make even the most debased and derogatory representations of black humanity--see Chief Keef for example--a fiction that becomes real for the white gaze and those people of color who have internalized it.
And even if we were able to create a synergy of black political mobilization, respectability, and resources, the crises of a failed economy, social institutions, and infrastructure that decades ago deindustrialized black and brown inner city communities are stubbornly resistant to the types of citizen activism that many in the public would like to pursue. How can one fight anti-democratic institutions with democratic means?
I am not, nor have I even been, a member of the black bourgeoisie. I also do not eat fried chicken or watermelon in either "mixed" company or in public. I also fry chicken wearing only my underwear and have many lurid fantasies of beautiful women in my kitchen similarly attired, cooking, topless, grease splattering on their pert nipples as my hands wander all over their bodies from behind, before the angry lingam makes glorious union with a ready, happy, and hungry yoni.
Ultimately, I am not a member of the black bourgeoisie for many reasons--first and foremost because I do not think they would have me. Nor, would I want to join any club that would take me as a member.
What says you about all of this black bourgeoisie stuff?