I suppose we’ve touched on this in a few places on Asylum, and at the moment, I’m not sure what is prompting me to write about it now. Maybe it was an update I read about an overheard conversation whereby a man was rated as “fine but too bad he’s homeless.” Possibly, it was the one where writer Kola Boof mentioned the murder of Blacks in Libya with the note that,”They are niggerstock, tho[sic].” Could also have been this morning’s rummage through so many blogs and stumbling upon a post on MSNBC’s Body Odd describing how scientist in Scotland have figured out how to tell what a person’s socioeconomic position was when they were a child – at age 80.
Anywho, whatever the spur, elitism is on my mind.
From arguments about the use of the term “nigga” to the insistence by some to champion the removal of “struggle food” from the Black palate, there is a constant attack on the behaviors held by one class of people by another. This typically works from they that have more of the master’s clothing belittling they that have not. Or shall we follow Alinsky’s notion: they that have a little and want more of the master’s clothing. I don’t want to linger too long on direct class antagonisms; the writing of the Black persons of the United States is far too replete with the bitter notions of house niggerisms and field slavery. Yet, as the new media format exposes the less draped to the thinking of the house trained and nigger spoiled, I venture this piece as a means to balance out the toxic with the prescriptive.
To start, there is a difference between an elite, and elitism. An elite, in my thinking, is one that has proven them Selves as more capable of a task or more astute in a given field; a stand out. Elitism is the posture that one must go to certain schools, wear certain clothing, and be of a certain class in order to be an elite. It is exclusivity taken to the point of killing millions of Jews; it is exclusivity taken to the point of selling your country men to savages and allowing your fellow kin to be labeled as “niggerstock” and you accept it.
Elitism can show it Self in various manners. The brother on the corner with the highly conservative posture announcing to you that you are indeed ‘dead'(or at best ‘asleep’) and that only he and his organization can bring you to the ‘living'(or at best ‘a wake up call’) are partaking in a form of elitism. I find it difficult not to note how our Black religions work: it is not the sinner that is called, but the poor. The poor are typically more sturdy of heart and better conditioned to meet the request of survival in a society built by Darwin’s Frankenstien monster, meaning, they are often more willing to take risks necessary to survive in opposition to the Black bourgeoisie notions of survival. The idea of “coming as you are, but not staying that way” is interesting once we look at the standard used to determine what state a person of “worth” is in. It has nothing to do with the sacred, unless the suit and the tie, and the conservative dress and hat adorned by church going women has somehow escaped the secular world of boardrooms and become holy. The same blindness that causes people to equate not having a job where they clock in at with “laziness” in a world where most of the actual elites didn’t work for anyone else either is a form of elitism.
It would bow me to my highest level of humble appreciation if just one person that complains about Black people in the underclass would admit that Blacks in the middle class have a fear of Black entrepreneurship, have an inability to appreciate anything that isn’t packaged (whether “Afrikan dance,” “Eastern Meditation,” or “European philosophy” – and I promise if my phone gets turned off one more time, I’m playing on this weakness). It burns my soul like freshly whipped heroin snorted through to read and listen to the thoughts of Black people regurgitating Bill Cosby, or the new elite Messiah, Barack Obama, on how to be Black in the USA. And yet we are bombarded with the insecure reactions of the alienated middle when they can’t dance, rap, fight, or relate to Black people enough to feel comfortable when phrases like,”acting or talking Black” are dropped.
For the record, elitism is classism, and classism is the mother of racism. Racism doesn’t start historically as a Black and White thing, or an Arab and Black thing; it starts as a tribal thing, then a “who can bear to toil my land” thing. Racism as an ideology evolves as Thomas Jefferson notes in his sexual predatory logic somewhere in Virginia that Blacks are inferior to whites. This becomes the seed of Darwinism and quite a litany of other excuses for humans to treat other humans as trash to be discarded. Or as our friends from the motherland might say, “niggerstock” or “akata.”
This piece is not to disdain standards, which is what I’m sure the Black elitist half-assed polemicist is going to retort. I believe in having standards, I believe in high standards. I also believe that my standards don’t have to be based on the cult of personality and baller jocking I see most people’s standards reflecting. What you define as “civil” to me, might not fit my description. As we are both unique vessels of energy forming the world around us as we are formed by the world around us, it makes not much sense for us to hold the same virtues; especially with me being the breed of traveler that I am. The same vices that might cause a woman to inspire an update on twitter preambled by a hashtag and the words “things hoodrats like,” may inspire the height elegance in prose from me. What Beyonce looks like doesn’t affect my appreciation of all forms of woman; whether rich, poor, frail or voluptuous. Jay-z’s talent as a crack dealer with legendary recall of lyrics improvised on dope sets doesn’t make me want to sit my son in front of him as a guide on how to make it in America.
If the only necessary element for respect is money, then none of us has grown too far beyond the plantation. And I must lower my head in shame at the brilliant human: so stupid it created capitalism to stunt what it had invented in social evolution.