Thanks to Kathryn Lopez for unearthing this. I've been scratching my head trying to understand what "disavowal of middleclassness" meant ever since it first came to my attention last year. This comes from a document explaining "The Black Value System" on the website of the Obamas' Trinity Church:
Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness”
Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must keep the captive ignorant educationally, but trained sufficiently well to serve the system. Also, the captors must be able to identify the “talented tenth” of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.
Those so identified as separated from the rest of the people by:
Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.
Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.
Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of “we” and “they” instead of “us”.
So, while it is permissible to chase “middle-incomeness” with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method-the psychological entrapment of Black “middleclassness”: If we avoid the snare, we will also diminish our “voluntary” contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright, the leadership, resourcefulness, and example of their own talented persons.
Posted on 03/15/2008 2:10 PM by Rebecca Bynum