Richard Poe and DP (Dienikes Pontikos) are in a little dispute over what race means. About a month back, I was going to review the book Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class by Laurence Otish Graham. I never got to that, but perhaps I’ll hit that at some point time permitting. In any case, I would just like to share a peculiar anecdote out of the book.
Scene: His brother’s wedding. Graham is at the table. A blonde woman approaches and points under his seat. She asks what the deal is with the broom, and Graham replies that the bride and groom will jump over it. It’s an old slave custom. The woman sneers and asks why he’s bringing those “nigger customs” to the wedding. Graham is in shock as the woman walks away. He looks around the table, and wonders aloud how such a racist white woman would be invited to the wedding. One of the people at the table corrects Graham, because you see, the blonde woman went to Howard with the bride, and she’s black. At this point, Graham changes his tune, and he realizes many of the “white” people at the wedding are actually black! They are just part of the black upper class that Graham is a marginal member of himself, and he no longer sees any curiosity in the woman referring to “niggers,” as they are now of her own race, the black race, she being a blonde white-skinned member of that race….
There are many stories like this littered throughout the book, but Graham adhere’s pretty strongly to the dogma of hypodescent, so he doesn’t seem to be very reflective about this bizarro style of thinking. He refers many times to the color caste-system that prevails among the hereditary black upper class, but in the end, he doesn’t seem to criticize it with any great zeal.