Talk:African-American middle class

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US - controversy[edit]

While surely there was discrimination, which (I assume) kept black people down, some sources say that a black middle class developed BEFORE the 1960s. Among these sources are black economist Thomas Sowell:

"Yet the rapid growth of that [black] middle class began even before the civil-rights revolution of the 1960s, much less the racial quotas and preferences that began in the 1970s. ... The rise of blacks into professional and similar occupations was faster in the five years preceding passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years following its passage." --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:13, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

  • "Yet the rapid growth of that [black] middle class began even before the civil-rights revolution of the 1960s, much less the racial quotas and preferences that began in the 1970s. ... The rise of blacks into professional and similar occupations was faster in the five years preceding passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years following its passage." --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:13, 24 November 2011 (UTC)


Also, Robert Norrell in The House I Live In mentions that there was some inkling of a Black Middle Class as early as the 1890s. "The brightest spot on the dark side of the white line resulted from the need for black business and professional people to serve the urban black community. Eache southern town had a small contingent of teachers, ministers, undertakers, barbers, and beautificans who provided services to black people that no white business or professional person offered. Most southern cities were home to a few black doctors and dentists, insurance agents, and building contractors, and perhaps a lawyer or two. The black business and professional group almost never served whites, and thus blacks' economic opportunities were limited by the relatively weak buying power of urban African Americans. The benefit was that this black "middle class" operated relatively free of white authority and competition. Although this group represented a small portion, usually not more than about 5 percent of the black urban population, its existence proved that some African Americans could rise in the socioeconomic order-indeed above the economic position of many whites" -- gleevec (talk) 3:03, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Editing the Page[edit]

These are great points! To address these concerns, I will edit the page to clarify that the black middle class emerged not only out of Civil Rights-oriented policies but through gradual policy-oriented change even for the years preceding the Civil Right Era.

There is a serious lack of citations for the statistical data provided in the article. I intend to supplement current statistics with scholarly articles and journals. The current article on “Black Middle Class” offers a sparse examination of literature on black mobility. I will preface the article with a definition of who precisely constitutes the “black middle class,” noting certain metrics such as education, wealth, home ownership, income, and occupation. Then, I will add a section on the history of the black middle class in the United States. I will also explain how certain government policies, particularly those implemented after the Civil Rights Era, allowed more blacks to obtain middle-class status.

Furthermore, I will add a detailed and comprehensive section on the social characteristics of the black middle class. My motive in this section is to illustrate how precisely black middle class experience differs from the white middle class through looking at shifts in family patterns, residential environment, and wealth. In one sub-section, I will focus on one realm of the black middle class experience—the neighborhood context—and investigate how racial segregation, shifting economic structures, and disproportionate black poverty affect the quality of life for the black middle class. I plan to use scholarly resources to explain why despite modest increases in wealth, societal and institutional factors constrain African American success.

Finally, the current section on the emergence of a black middle class South Africa will be removed. This section erroneously lumps the black middle class in South Africa with U.S.-born blacks. Furthermore, South Africa embodies a different socio-cultural, political, and economic history than that of the United States. It is beyond the scope of this Wikipedia page to discuss and compare the black middle class in the United States with that of South Africa.

Would appreciate any feedback on these suggested changes! Thanks!

--saimatoppa —Preceding undated comment added 17:57, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Peer input[edit]

Hi Saima! First off, I love how comprehensive your article is! It gives a great look at a topic that is rarely discussed. There are, however, just a few things you might want to consider, namely revolving around properly establishing the credibility of claims.

In the section entitled “Rise of middle class blacks” you primarily discuss barriers on the basis of discrimination that have stood in the way of economic mobility. It might be good to rename the section to more accurately reflect your discussion of these hurdles. Also, in that section, be sure to look out for proper citations, especially in the second paragraph.

It is also important to remain cognizant of the fact that highlighting potential explanations can come off as original research when the source is not cited. For example in the “Challenges of the black middle class” section the idea that this lack of upward mobility may be due to more black children being born out of wedlock should definitely be cited, not just the statistic. In the “Racial wealth gap” section be sure to be mindful of citations. The first paragraph, for example, contains direct quotes, but no footnote. It is also very important to state that the credentials of those whose opinions you are stating. For example, in the “Residential segregation” section the idea that the African American community is deprived of a unified middle-class needs to be attributed to an individual with credibility or a study. This is also essential in the “Education” section, which is currently devoid of citations. This also holds for the closing of both the “African immigrants and black middle class” section, as well as the “Poverty of African Americans” section. Lastly, in the references section, be sure to change links into more detailed citations. These are just a few small changes that can have a big impact in terms of having people better understand these explanations and get a better feel for the issue at hand. Please let me know if there's anything you need me to elaborate on. Good luck with everything! Avo92 (talk) 19:22, 26 November 2012 (UTC)


Thanks I've incorporated your feedback into my revisions! Saimatoppa (talk) 01:04, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Article name?[edit]

Given the US focus, perhaps this article should be renamed Black middle class in the United States. Thanks, DA Sonnenfeld (talk) 11:19, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Done! Except I switched the title to American Black Middle Class so as to cooperate nicely with the American Black Upper Class article. AmericanDad86 (talk) 14:05, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Discussion of modern-day housing discrimination seems misleading and not at all from a neutral point of view[edit]

The entire first paragraph of that section makes claims that are not remotely supported by the source material cited. In particular, the claim that realtors still use the presence of the archaic and illegal covenants to exclude minorities is specious. The entire paragraph includes only one citation at the end, and that citation is an article which basically comes to the conclusion that, while some of this offensive language remains due to the difficulty of removing it from the official public records, very few of the homeowners are even aware that it exists, it is not currently being used to discriminate in any way, and organizations such as the NAACP do not consider its removal to be important due to the fact that all such language is illegal and unenforceable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.126.108.49 (talk) 09:52, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Black American Upper Class which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 18:29, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

A majority of the discrimination claims shown in the 2nd paragraph lack clear-detail and sources. Most these claims are put out as fact rather than opinion. And it seems more opinionated rather than factual. There needs to be reliable sources rather than pure opinion on a site like this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.137.138.189 (talk) 19:39, 3 May 2014 (UTC)