By: Anonymous Black Bourgeoisie Reading Response In the first section of Frazier's Black Bourgeoisie, "The World of Reality", Frazier introduces his discussion of the interplay of class and race. He outlines the historical roots of the social place of most African-Americans in the U. S. A. and that of the black middle class. Frazier asserts the inconsequential place of middle class African-Americans and their resulting inferiority complex.
He depicts the black middle class as living in a "no man's land" in the dominant white culture of America. Frazier begins a more detailed explanation of his theories by discussing the place of the black bourgeoisie in the political and power structures of America. He contends that the black middle class has no real power in America at this time. He attributes the appearance of power to the fact that the members of the black bourgeoisie hold strategic positions in the segregated community. However, he maintains that all of these "power" positions still feed into the white power structure. Next, he discusses the break with traditional African-American culture.
According to Frazier, the black middle class has abandoned the folk culture of "the black masses" in favor of shell of the middle class white world that rejected them. Therefore, the black bourgeoisie lives in what Frazier calls a cultural vacuum, disdainful of the culture of most African-Americans, dismissed by the white middle class culture. Finally, Frazier discusses the result of this displacement on the black middle class. Because the black bourgeoisie buys into the ideals of white America more and is simultaneously more exposed to its hostility, their sense of inferiority is compounded.
They seek to fill this void in two ways. First, they look more to the material gains they have made into the middle class culture and place more importance on those. Secondly, they have created a "make believe world" in which they hold a great deal of influence and significance. This false notion of the place of the black bourgeoisie in American life is what Frazier proposes to discuss and debunk in the next sections. Word Count: 341.