Countless pundits have debated whether the Henry Louis Gates Jr. brouhaha is about race or class.
In truth, Barack Obama’s maladroit but heartfelt interjection of his own prejudices into the controversy stemmed from a quite precise intersection of race with class. Obama spoke out in defense of Gates’s tantrum because they are both members of the tiny (but increasingly potent) black overclass.
Obama’s feelings of class solidarity haven’t been widely discussed, largely because they are rather boring. In a world bedazzled by black entertainers and athletes, and troubled (but intrigued) by black criminals, the black upper class goes almost unnoticed as they engage in respectable rituals such as relaxing at Martha’s Vineyard, where “Skip” Gates has summered for 27 years and the Obamas will be vacationing next month.This Affirmative-Actionocracy’s access to power and wealth stems largely from their claim to theoretically represent 40 million African-Americans, particularly the foreboding and puzzling black underclass. Yet, they try to associate with less lofty blacks no more than necessary, and they especially don’t want their daughters to marry them. Hence the constant inward socializing.
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Thanks to commenters for finding the picture of Henry Louis Gates riding his "adult tricycle" while summering on Martha's Vineyard.