10 Things I Can’t Stand About “Educated” Black People

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Almost two months ago, I had a pre-dinner with one of my friends from middle school. I call it a pre dinner because shortly after, she was meeting one of her friends from college to have a full, proper dinner. Just so happens, in college I was in an internship program with this girl, so I said hello and reminded her of this fact. After I explained how we were all “connected,” she said, “Isn’t it amazing how all educated, black people are just one degree away from another educated, black person?” After I walked away from this woman and my friend, I found myself feeling a way about the “educated, black people” label. This was over a month ago, and up until now, I couldn’t quite figure out what it was about that phrase that didn’t sit so well with me. But today, I found the answer. I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline, and stumbled across this rather old article: “27 Things Educated, Black People Like.”  There was that phrase again. I clicked to see what it was about and while there were several things that I do indeed enjoy, like Neo Soul, weddings, mega churches, dressing up, and advanced degrees, I found there were several things that “educated, black people” stereotypically do and enjoy that I just can’t get down with…

Living their lives according to the politics of respectability

Image Source: Bigstock.com

Living their lives according to the politics of respectability

If you’ve never heard of the term, basically the theory behind respectability politics is that a person can overcome racism by behaving in ways that have been approved or co-signed by the majority, white folks. So, for example folks like Don Lemon will focus on black boys and men not sagging their pants and using the n-word to eliminate racism in America as opposed to addressing the actual racists and their warped way of  thinking. Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of the same thing. I’ve cringed at the teenagers who said the n-word 100 times in a 20 minute train ride, only to get home and use the same word in the privacy of my own home. As I’m getting older and more mature, I also see the value in being yourself regardless of the people around you. I doubt I’ll ever be the chick who uses the n-word in the ear shot of white folks but I do recognize that in the long run, it’s got to be unhealthy suppressing your true self because it’s not “acceptable” to the white folks. We’ll be a lot more free when we stop looking for their approval.

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