This very much touched me, Deborah, and I thank you for writing it. I’m looking forward to your book. I’ve learned quite a bit thus far, from both you and LJ.
It is very difficult to track the effectiveness of “affirmative action”. I remember reading Thomas Sowell’s A Personal Odyssey and his horror at the number of unqualified blacks being pushed through the system.
I actually would next like to read Negroland, a glimpse into the upper class of “elite" blacks. Pah.
I was raised working-class poor, in the projects, but grew up thinking I was the Queen of Fucking England.
Much like you, however, I was not immune to allowing lack of money to become interwoven negatively into my identity, leading, of course, to more of a lack of money because of a lack mentality. I learned early that it was important to work hard but normal to be broke.
I was also a METCO kid, METCO being a sort of combined manifestation of the landmark rulings of Brown v. The Board of Education and Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.
We were majority “black” students bussed from the inner city to a very rich and very white suburb an hour from Boston. We were rumblefish of the highest order, and beat the shit out of one another all up and through that school. It was pretty funny because those poor upper class whites had no idea what to do. But it’s so amazing when I think back to all of us kids, of different races and ethnicities, of different classes, navigating the different worlds of one another. Then in high school we got a whole slew of poor white trash from a neighboring town, which confused everyone.
Some of the best friends I made were either poor whites, and a Jew named Magda. Though Magda also came from great wealth.
At the end of the day, people form cultures around money and a lack thereof.
I’m happy that you found a group of your own in that program.