This question has puzzled me for many years. I wonder why we ask this over and over again. For those of us old enough to remember, Malcolm asked, "What do they call a Black man with a Ph.D.?" We are a very long way beyond that period when even the most well off among us were lumped into one category by those who would oppress us under the heading of the N word. Of course the answer is "No, they don't have the same struggles."
Even so, the upper class and elite among us have moved beyond the struggles of most of us. That is the nature of upward mobility. One indicator is that the question of "post racial equality" is raised in the context of Dr. King's dream. (Are we there yet? No.) The higher one moves in our society, the greater the focus on one's talents, skills, intellect, and contributions. It is not easy to get lumped into the struggles of the masses who have not escaped the devastating impact of institutional racism.
In spite of this "difference" in the struggles of the elite, most Blacks still relate to their less fortunate ethnic brothers and sisters. That includes folks like Oprah, Vernon Jordan, Barack Obama, Colin Powell and the billionaire Johnsons.
Why are we asking the question? Don't we all want to advance beyond our current station? What do we expect the result to be when our striving results in success beyond our childhood dreams? I know that I expected my life to be different -- free of many of the struggles that came with the poor beginnings of my youth.
Our history indicates that slavemasters played a game of privilege among the slaves to maintain control. Think about it, whatever privileges enjoyed in that period amounted to nothing -- they were all still slaves. That game is long over, except in the minds of those who are still enslaved, and not free to pursue their full potential. Yes, there are structural barriers to overcome. But they can be overcome, and the outcome is an opportunity to live above the struggles of our past and help others through our continued striving.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS