The Black Middle Class’s Obsession with the Ghetto



Going to a mostly white University there were few Black students. A majority of them were Black Middle Class. Though you wouldn’t be able to tell by the way they carried themselves. The Black middle class in my school did everything in their power to act as if they were from the ghetto. Tattoos up and down the arm. They sold weed out of their dorms. They would listen to hardcore rap. Or trying to rep neighborhoods they visited. I had two Middle-Class Black Men claim cities they moved out of when they were 4 and 5. One attempted to claim the Bronx. I just laughed. I grew up in the ghettos of the Bronx. Gunshots, rat, roach, and police brutality. If you had never rode in a questionable piss elevator. Yet everything I am, or better put I was, turned them off. The authenticity of my hoodlum nature made them feel uncomfortable. I made their skin crawl because to them I naturally gave off Black Air Force Energy.


I despised them, the Black Middle Class, and I still do. Even as I climb out the generation hole I was born into, plotting and collecting wealth I look at myself and hope I do not fade into their bougie behavior. Yet I know I made it out of the ghetto and thus threw myself into the same limbo as them. Unlike those who went to my school I had firsthand experience of the Ghetto and I swear to every god that’ll listen I will never go back. Yet here I want to cling on to it.


What is the attraction to the ghetto? Why do the Black Middle classes cling to it, sell it, pimp it, and obsess over it? It is because of the alternative, trying to fit into Middle-Class America. The Black Middle-Class and Middle-Class America do not mix. We are not allowed into America’s Middle-Class. The exclusivity of America’s Middle Class and the impossible climb to gain wealth as Black American makes it feel like you are in Hueco Mundo.

Hueco Mundo

Hueco Mundo is a place no Black individual wants to find themselves. Yet each year, some of us sign ourselves up without even knowing it. Hueco Mundo is LIMBO, a white void with nothing in it. Constantly reminding you of who put you there. It is the position outside of the status quo. Where you can only see an endless white backdrop, and it is the furthermost point you are allowed to reach in America through the normalized means. In Hueco Mundo, you will not find entertainers or the poor Black Americans. In Hueco Mundo, you will find the Black who started their own company or worked their salary job to success. There they are screaming into the white void to be heard.


The Middle-Class Black Americans placed here are annoyed with everyone and everything in America. They can’t understand what Hueco Mundo is. Denied Parks Place and then rejected by their Lower-Class counterparts. The Black Middle-Class lashes out. They despise the Lower-Class Black for rebuking them and the White Middle-Class for not acknowledging them. The Middle-Class Blacks in Hueco Mundo are also scared. They are terrified of the journey ahead as further success in the unknown and filled with the traps of racism. They rather throw up West-Side signs then deal with the self-realization that in America, there is no place for a Black who is not entertaining and yet well off.

Having always been the case here in America the last century, this truth is one the Middle-Class Black cannot swallow. Black Banks and Businesses to this day get left out of stimulus packages to help during tough economic times. Black wealth is under assault every day. Black schools get less funding on average regardless of income, $2,000 less per student than White counterparts. The Middle-Class Black refuses the truth and believes they can be made in America. Here is where the ghetto comes in.

Even in a Benz you still a N**** in a coup.

The Black-Middle Class bite, pimp, pretend, dress, or appropriate ghetto culture because it’s the only Black culture promoted in America. In recent years it’s become more prevalent to pretend you came from that background because you are adjacent to it. If you are close enough to it, then you understand it. Right? No wrong. My cousin got shot. Do I know what it is like to get shot? No closeness in proximity does not equate self-experience. Many Middle-Class Black people have forgotten this parade around as if they are from the ghetto.  T.V show moments of a well off Black people saying they know the struggle, and then putting a Low-Income Black person in their place fills their head. Too many want to be Uncle Phil. They want to say they struggled. Yet their challenges do not equate to some other Black People.

They need to feel validated in their struggles that lead them to act out in such peculiar ways. They want to fit in somewhere, so they try to act and behave like hoodlums. In the hood, whatever you got is good because it is yours. Thus they can show off without ever fearing to be out shined. This behavior sometimes is outgrown. Other times it is not. You will have a twenty-eight-year-old Black Man who has never spent a day in the ghetto speaking on moving weight or street smarts. In that, we find the danger of the Middle-Class Blacks obsession with the ghetto.


The Middle-Class Black while Black is still Middle class. They are the have where a majority of their peers are the have-nots. They are the oppressors, without even being aware of it. Every time they throw up the West-Side or talk Ebonics, they are oppressing a group of people trying to break free from such forced labels and stereotypes. Who have to then meet or interact with the same people. The Lower-Class Black Man or Woman will not act that way and then be called uppity.


The Black Middle-Class must let go of their obsession with the hood. The existence of Hueco Mundo is far more prominent. A solution is needed. First though we all must let go of the comfortable feeling public squalor brings. Even I will let go of it. Though raised and molded by it, growth requires letting go of childish things. So I’ll let go of the ghetto with a frown on my face. For truly it is the place to be and not to be at the same time. That, however, is just my opinion.

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