Being Black

Topics: Social class, Black people, Middle class Pages: 2 (708 words) Published: February 26, 2008
For my second formal writing piece I am considering writing about Shelby Steele's essay ‘On Being Black and Middle Class.' I find this piece interesting because Steele starts his piece with a contradiction his friend makes, and then he continues to unfold his view on the matter and how he started to change his mind over periods of time during his life. ‘If you were black, you were just black and that was that' (p. 687). Although I am not black, I have discovered that all of us change our views as we grow older. I love the examples Steele uses to describe his change of mind.

He comments that ‘race never fully explained our situation in American society' (p 687). Class also plays an important role on who you become in life. Steele explains that the middle-class blacks in the sixties were caught in a double-bind in life; the race which they belong to and also the class in which they were brought up in. I agree with him on this point. Class has a lot to do with who you become and where you go in life. Even now, race plays a major part as well. People still look at others differently because of the color of their skin.

Steele describes that society wants blacks to see themselves as a ‘minority' and I agree with that. I have heard many people comment on how someone performs a job using the color skin as an excuse. As a society, I believe that we are still trying to separate races and classes. Just like certain whites are looked down upon because of their living standards, the same happens to many blacks. ‘The black middle class has always defined its class identity by means of positive images gleaned from middle- and upper-class white society, and by means of negative images of lower-class blacks' (p 690). I agree with this because many people today don't seem to think there is such a thing as the black middle-class. Blacks are mainly thought of as lower-class citizens and whites as upper- and middle-class citizens. The people caught up in...
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