Black liberation thwarted from all sides

8/11/2017, 12:23 p.m.
Black classism is just as detrimental to black liberation as white supremacy, and I do not like what I am ...

Tasha Chambers

Black classism is just as detrimental to black liberation as white supremacy, and I do not like what I am seeing.

From up close and from afar, I have witnessed black liberation in Richmond set back by some African-Americans who have “made it.” Many deliberately are not sharing a slice of the pie of success with those coming behind them. Mentoring often is approached as charity or a lesson in kissing the ring instead of a requirement to move the culture forward.

I’ve watched reruns of “acceptable” black people attempting to keep ceremonious seats at the table while the most vulnerable of us are still on the menu. Those who feel like they’ve made it do nothing — or say very little — because they don’t want to lose that symbolic “Momma-I-made-it” seat.

And only God can help those African-Americans in this city who don’t have a legacy last name or who cannot afford exorbitant social and fraternal organization dues.

But let’s be serious — there is little black wealth in Richmond. It’s social status that is bequeathed.

I have witnessed infighting between old-school black leaders and new-school black leaders when the majority establishment deliberately arranges private meetings and public appearances with those African-Americans who have been lucky enough to be “tapped” over and over again.

I have watched philanthropic foundations set aside a tiny pot of money for nonprofits operated by African-Americans for African-Americans, resulting in a silent bitterness among the black organizations because they all are trying to survive off limited funding.

And I have watched “woke” white organizations duplicate the services of African-American organizations, often appearing as the savior for black youths and taking funding away from the African-American organizations like a thief in the night.

Can’t we see what is happening here? Or are we not as woke as we claim to be.

The writer is the former director of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia.