A Dying Breed of Black Folk

I was raised during the sixties and came of age in the late 70s. My parents were married to each other, well educated, and gainfully employed. We didn't get a colored television until 1972. I didn't have a 10 speed bike until 1976. Our parents sacrificed to send us to a private, catholic high school and my sisters and I are now college graduates.

We lived in a nice 4 bedroom house on a quiet street in the Midwest. Between the three sisters, we were the "proud parents" of 3 cats, 2 dogs, 4 snakes, a praying mantis, and a pail full of worms. Our lives were "a wonder".

I mentioned all of this in passing one evening to a group of chatters who were complaining about the state of the black community and how it was "never" a good scene for black folks in America. After a moment of "cyber silence", one of them asked me if I was white. Another told me (yes, actually told me) I was a spoiled bitch. I laughed so loudly at the comments that my son cam into the room and chastised me for laughing at the computer screen, reminding me of the insanity of such behavior.

I asked them why my childhood and life seemed so strange and "not black" to them. Responses ranged from cus "black folk have never lived like that" to "because your parents were probably sell out, rich Negros" (my parent both grew up on dirt poor farm in the south during the depression and were in college during the early days of the moder civil rights movement." My parents weren't rich, I corrected happily. My mother, now a widow, still would consider herself wealthy, even though daddy made sure she would want for nothing before he left us to live with the ancestors.

Yet, the notion of black folk. from the country, moving to the big, bad city and "moving on up" apparently is something only seen on TV Land reruns for some of my people. Where are all the people like me, who came for 2 parent, 2 income, paid off mortgage, decent credit rating families? Am I an anomaly? Should I be concerned about this?

Whatever happened to the concept of "yes, you too can be more than a kid form the projects?" If you are a kid from the projects who rose above your circumstances, why on earth are you so hard on folk who didn't live in the projects?

I love the way folk badmouth the "chocolate cities" in America, either not knowing or forgetting the glory days of these communities and that this is where all the "uppity" Negros (as we are tacitly referred as" come from. There is an entire generation of "Negros" who now have risen above their circumstances and made a beeline to somewhere other than "home" and now pretend they never lived in the projects or were on welfare, or had to watch their backs as they walked home from the store or cried over the dead body of their drug addict cousin... and that THEY are now the "new negro"... and the rest of us, who never had that experience are "less" than them, because our lives weren't "hard".

Hard? You survived it... so was it really that hard? What about the ones who are still there, who didn't make it out? Why hate on me for having missed out on YOUR experience? Why forget those who did and are still living that experience? Why dismiss my contribution to the black experience because I am a 3rd generation college graduate and you're the first one in your family to see the ivy?

Has it become a different sort of "us vs them"? Needing to feel included in the bigger experience has created a group of "uppity Negros" who don't even realize they're uppity and who have completely forgotten who laid down for them to even be who they now pretend to be. They've left the ghetto...but the ghetto will never leave their consciousness. This is NOT a good thing.

I am a proud member of the "dying breed" of black folk. I know my root is long, strong and blood soaked. I never lived in a project or had to dodge bullets. My parent drove me nuts making me become more than them, even as they were a great deal more than their parents before them.

I didn't benefit form entitlements and scholarships cus I came from a single parent household or have a mother who never expected me to amount to anything. I have no chip on my shoulder. I have nothing to prove.

I am a dying breed of black folk.

We need to start a memorial fund. Holla at ya girl...