On Black Elitism and the Rent vs. Buy Debate

Throughout the past few days, this meme has been floating around my timeline. And although I’ve been trying my hardest to ignore it, I just couldn’t help but address the clear misinformation today. In doing so, it was brought to my attention that many of our faves have also shared a correction, but in a much more condescending delivery, it seems.

A conversation with a good friend made me realize that although the meme is factually incorrect, it’s the tone and underlying comment section that are most worth addressing. Both the comments and the post itself reveal a disdain with parts of the Black middle class; that’s likely a result of our own attitudes. Frankly, people are over our Black elitist shit, and rightfully so. I think it’s time we, the upwardly-mobile, Black middle-class face a hard truth: Our degrees, our thriving businesses, our 6-ish figure incomes, our home ownership, our Instagram-worthy vacations don’t make us better than anyone. Period.

Here’s another hard truth that we should accept: For all our reaching back, and helping folk “learn better so they can do better”, it still hasn’t been enough to move the needle for our community. Black home ownership is still low. The racial wealth gap is still widening.  If you need further convincing, just check out how nearly every viable Democratic candidate is using Black reparations as their favorite Black voter buzz word…well except one. Serious side-eye.

I know, surely you’ve never intentionally bragged about your accomplishments at the expense of others. You’ve definitely never unnecessarily humble-bragged about the brunches you gave up to afford life in the burbs and your annual trips to the DR. And you’ve damn sure never flexed on the lowly 9-5 workers who dared not support your small business. I’m sure you’re better than that. But we’ve all seen and heard these things happen.

This isn’t to say that if you, like I, spent the better part of your adult life grinding through school and into a career/entrepreneurial venture that’s pushed you into a higher tax bracket that you should apologize. It’s an accomplishment, and you deserve to enjoy your success how you see fit. But if enjoying your success involves feeling superior to the next person, you need to take a moment of personal pause and check yourself. It’s okay, we all need to sometimes.

And because I know someone is itching to say it, no, this doesn’t only occur within the Black community. Yes, this is a class issue at it’s core. But I’m specifically addressing Black people for a few reasons: 1. I care about building wealth in the Black community. Duh. 2. This meme hit a particular nerve as it relates to home ownership and its necessity in building Black wealth. 3. Black elitist bullshit just really needs to stop. End rant.

To the folks who feel as if they “haven’t made it yet”. Just keep running your race fam.

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