The author says, “I think it’s worth noting that money can afford a certain level of blindness to some of the everyday issues that pervade our everyday lives.”
It’s more than that. Money is the ultimate trump card. If life were a poker game, the wealthy have 5 jokers every hand.
If you don’t have money you have to gain social worth some other way: heritage, talent, intelligence, good looks, etc. All these things are social capital, but if you have enough money you don’t need any of the other things. If you have enough money, nothing else matters; you’ve got an automatic invitation to every social sphere in the world regardless of your race, gender, education, or heritage.
The problem is once these “new wealthy blacks” have 5 jokers in their hand every deal, they want to go around saying suit doesn’t matter anymore.
Oh, I beg to differ.
If you were born a club into a poker game where 70% of the cards are diamonds, you aren’t going to be a part of very many winning hands. You’re going to find yourself discarded nearly every hand.
Your only hope is to find a way to trump your suit and your face value — and in this world that is money. Oh, you could learn a skill and move yourself from a 3 of clubs to a 7 of clubs. If you’re good looking as well that might bump you to a 10. Get an education — a law degree or an MBA — and you might become a king or an ace, but even an ace in clubs is going to get discarded more frequently in a world where all the players know 70% of the cards are diamonds.
In the real world U.S., a white M.B.A. still has more opportunities than a black M.B.A., and Freeman and Pharrell are either ignorant or in denial to say otherwise. Wealth is the only card that trumps all else.
Admittedly, it’s easier for the black person to get the MBA today than it was 50 years ago, and the black professional has more opportunities today than he did 50 years ago. Things are much better since the pre-civil rights days, but let’s not pretend race is no longer an issue. Unless you are independently wealthy you are still part of a game where suit matters a great deal.
Money doesn’t end racism, it just makes it a non-issue for those who have it.
“To put it bluntly, the likes of Pharrell and Raven-Symoné can afford to declare their independence from blackness.”
In April of this year, Pharrell Williams declared the “new Black” in an interview with Oprah Winfrey by saying:
The “new black” doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The “new black” dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.
I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American. I mean, I don’t know where my roots go to. I don’t know how far back they go. I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots…
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