The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America - Chapter 6, On Being Black and Middle Class Summary & Analysis

Shelby Steele
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Chapter 6, On Being Black and Middle Class Summary and Analysis

Middle-class blacks are often put in a "double bind" between middle class values that reinforce personal responsibility, saving, and hard work and racial identity, which emphasizes the group and excuses individual bad behavior. Thus whenever a black person moves towards being middle class, she moves away from "being black" and vice-versa. Prior to the sixties, the black middle class often distinguished themselves from poorer blacks and poorer blacks had an image of the black middle class as "house slaves." In fact, Steele grew up this way.

However black racial identity changes throughout the sixties. It becomes more self-conscious and organized. It is also more prescribed and blacks also becomes less tolerant of those who had a different view of what it meant to be black. Further, poor blacks have...

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This section contains 280 words
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