Hi Marsha — Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment. (That’s my best friend’s name, by the way!)
I agree that there are certainly similarities between those who grew up in similar socioeconomic conditions, however here’s the problem: when a Black person is educated and wealthy, often White people will classify this person as “not really Black” which means that “Blackness” is associated with lack of education and poverty. Unfortunately since this has been the constant narrative in this country to continue to perpetuate the supposed inferiority of Black people, the majority of White people have become conditioned to believe the majority of us fit into the inferior category.
I’ve never heard anyone say that a White, educated, wealthy person was “less White” or anything other than exactly what they are: a White, educated, and wealthy person. Their Whiteness is not stripped from them because of their education or wealth since this country has associated these traits with being White. I’ve had people tell me over the course of my life that I “spoke like a White woman” or I “didn’t act like a Black person” simply because I am educated and grew up in an upper middle-class suburb. This is why so many of us were overjoyed with shows like The Cosby Show because it portrayed families that looked like ours and showed that regardless of wealth, we are all very much Black, proud of our Blackness, and have a great understanding and respect for our culture.
I do see your point about the issues with socioeconomic repression, but the problems go much deeper than that. It is due to White people in the majority who refuse to see Black people as equals and continue to label us in ways that keep the proverbial foot on our neck. If we had more women like you with compassion and knowledge speaking out, we would be on our way to a better place. I thank you kindly for your willingness to explore and discuss this without ridicule and judgement.