“Our Kind Of People” Inside Of America’s Black Upper Class by Lawrence Otis Graham

Hello IYBC,

Graham an African-American attorney went undercover as a busboy at an all-white Connecticut country club and wrote about the experience first in New York magazine and then in Member of the Club his 1996 book of essays. Now he switches his attention from the white to the black elite. Graham spent six years researching the history of the African-American upper crust and this is both a through work of social history and a thoughtful appraisal of his own place in the black social hierarchy. Graham makes clear that the black elite has always been strongly shaped by the peculiar intertwined American preoccupation with color and class noting that in the past most members of the elite they were “superior to other black and whites” Stressing the importance of surrounding themselves with “like-minded people.”

The black elite enrolled their children in certain social clubs wich were training grounds for the social graces and created the foundation of a black old-boy network. Graham stops short of offering an apology for behavior that is hard to characterize as anything that snobbish (he himself had a nose job) when he was 26 so that he would have less “Negroid” look) But does  bemoan a dwindling interest in tradition and he suggests that it wasn’t such a bad thing to grow in the 1960’s and 70’s without the “sense of anger” and dissatisfaction the rest of black America” expressed in those years. Graham has produced a book that casts an unblinking eye on America’s black elite, cataloguing its achievement while critically analyzing its shortcomings it is a must read by anyone interested in African-American history and the impact of idea’s about social class on our society.

This article was published by Publishers Weekly, 1998- 12-14

Please show your support on  18 April 2013 6:30pm at Augusta Richmond County Public Library located on 823 Telfair St. Augusta, GA 30901

Thomas Patterson will facilitate “Our Kind Of People’ Inside Of America’s Black Upper Class by Lawrence Otis Graham.


About chocolateamethyst

" Mother Teresa didn't walk around complaining about her thighs she had love to give"
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6 Responses to “Our Kind Of People” Inside Of America’s Black Upper Class by Lawrence Otis Graham

  1. chocolateamethyst says:

    Hello IYBC,

    I ask Thomas why did he choose such a controversial book? well should be suprised after all this is Thomas we are talking about (LOL)

    This is his comment on “Our Kind Of People” Inside Of America’s Black Upper Class by Lawrence Otis Graham.

    “The reason why I chose this book is because I think this information is needed and it’s good to see that we do have ” Black Royality” so to speak… and also it shows that wealth is the great equalizer regardless regardlsess of race, creed or color.”

  2. chocolateamethyst says:

    Hello IYBC,

    Thomas why do you think this information is needed? how will it benefit me because of some
    black people feel that they are better than me. I am a “elite” person myself, money does not define me.

    Black Royality??????????????? give me a break.
    Keep it coming Thomas(LOL)

  3. chocolateamethyst says:

    I am confused. What did the author gain by writing this book? Why he did is irrelevant.
    What does he want from me as a “reader”

  4. chocolateamethyst says:

    Hello IYBC,

    Thomas has a question for the IYBC members:

    “The orgins of the black upper class started at the time where slaves were divided by skin color and position in the fields and plantations. The light skinned slaves enjoyed a higher standard of living with access to education and culture position and in upward mobility. Has anything changed today?”

    • chocolateamethyst says:

      are you asking if racism exist in our own culture? I wonder if there are any law suits filed to support your question. I personally don’t feel I have been suppressed because of my complexion by my own race professionally, there some members of my family that have the “color struck” nature but I don’t concern myself with it.

  5. chocolateamethyst says:

    Hello IYBC,

    Thomas has a question that you can comment on or you can wait until the IYBC meeting:

    “After reading the chapter on the right clubs for children of the elite i.e. Jack and Jill. Do you feel that these clubs were really needed or were they formed to further isolate the children from common folks and still in still them a feeling of superiority?”

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