I'm back! And I will use the following quote to re-start the conversation:
Originally Posted by barose
Originally Posted by purplegirl
Just popping in before I take off for vacation. My family is traveling to Martha's Vineyard for the week--talk about the mecca of black upper middle class. I am enjoying this conversation but time doesn't allow me to write more. I will upon my return next Saturday!
Let's keep it going mamas!
Interesting - because I have never been in the company of upper middle class AA before. Maybe at the SF Symphony, or opera but it was usually an older person or couple.
Strange, now that I think about it. It might because of my location: all of the places that we vacationed here in California: La Jolla, Sea Ranch, Big Sur, Santa Barbabra, it was pretty hard to find another black person there. When we went to Sea Ranch a few weeks ago, I was tickled pink to see TWO black couples
on two different occasions.
I read the above exchange and I thought to myself that I am on both sides of the conversation. We have been seen as elite by others in many situations and we have looked for more POC at cultural events/vacations/activities that we have participated in.
The funny thing about stepping out of one's "cultural" comfort zone is that someone will be the first/few to do so and at times, being the one who is doing it come with the price of feeling isolated.
But because of where I grew up, I don't feel as isolated as I might feel if I grew up in a more homogeneous area.
You see, my husband and I both grew up in Seattle in what would be called middle class neighborhoods(they are both now considered upper middle class neighborhoods)that had plenty of upwardly mobile people of color(both of the neighborhoods that we grew up in were/are very diverse). They both had/have solid tax bases, good schools and many local public/private services(banks, supermarkets, libraries, retail shops, etc). And after living on the East coast for 8+ years and seeing the great differences between the way that we grew up in Seattle and the way many areas in the east are so segregated by race/ethnicity and class, I now have come to recognize that we did grow up in a "elite" environment(although at the time, it didn't feel like it) and because of that upbringing we view the world in a very different way than many of the Blacks that we have met that have grown up here. And that difference sometimes makes it hard to connect with folks.
Because I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood, I participate in activities that aren't typically associated with urban Blacks(camping, snow skiing, hiking etc)and I have a very diverse palate(even though I am a very picky eater) so you will find me eating foods that come from many different cultural traditions.
I also have a comfort level around different people that makes many of my new friends here uncomfortable. They much prefer to keep certain folks at arms length, only getting to know them on a superficial level(many of my friends here had never been in each other houses)and for me, that would be unheard of.
I am pretty much a "what you see is what you get" kind of person with every one I meet and I don't have a "Black Erika" and a "Bland Erika" that I switch between and that is something else that makes some here think twice about me too.
And then I have to add that some of my Black friends here are first or second generation Americans so their perspective is even more complex.
Wow, just reading this post is making my head swim! I don't even think that it makes a lot of sense! I might have to come back and make some edits later, but for now I will leave it be.
Erika(I don't wear a fro, I'm just a sister who likes this smilie!)