Something that I thought about this morning after pondering this piece about that ‘professional colored’ being mistaken for a service worker was how these roles(poles?) of concern have shifted. Civil Rights seems to have caused our focus to be fighting for right to be violators of other people’s human dignity, not sustainers of human dignity for all.
There is a disconnect based on class position that Civil Rights legislation and ideology have aided in furthering. Is it more important for me to be concerned that a professional colored was mistaken for a service worker, or should I be reminded that Dr. King was killed while organizing for service worker’s rights that they obviously still do not have mainly due to a Civil Rights agenda? Irony…
Somewhere, principles that once dictated spectrum of concern for those oppressed by US Government became diluted. Those groups socially forced into positions of subordination began to cry less about that dynamic, more about not being included in that group that forces subordination onto others. A degree has come to symbolize “hard work”, while those that actually do our hard work are stigmatized and considered “lazy”; told to work “smarter”.
There is a class conflict in Black USA that not only segments light skinned colored from darker hued negroes but creates a buffer separating African immigrants from those whose heritage lies in families captured centuries ago. There is a blindness generated in these general terms of solidarity. “Black” is too overarching for a privileged professional to feel a connection to those that look like them, but do not reside in same tax bracket or share collegiate pedigree.
There is a blindness in Black USA that blurs our divisions until hypersegregation is no longer a factor of our connection to Whyte spaces, but our connection to ones dominated by other Blacks. This blur causes us to not speak about networks that allow value to be distributed to some, while others have to work twice as hard to get same deal other Blacks receive on their face. While some forget that hard work was why US Slavery even existed as a racially codified system, those of us with scars in our DNA must always remember that value is an exchange rate, and who we trust among our own to trade with might define what is “treasonous” and traitorous” to us moving forward.