In May 2016, I was told I represented the black utopia… What???
I have been struggling with writing this post for the last couple months because I wanted to remain focused on the overall message I wanted to convey. I’ve had this blog in draft form and decided to finish it after further consideration…
First, I hate the notion I represent the “black” utopia versus the “American” Utopia. Black Americans already are judged by a different set of standards, as if we are sub-Americans. It’s like my Utopia has to be qualified. Of course I understand the spirit in which it was said, I just hated being chosen to represent an entire idea for a group of people who struggle with so much in their identity. Perhaps in another post I will discuss why I used the term “black” versus “African-American”.
Here I am, an educated woman, married with 4 children who attend private school, I live in a nice home and drive a nice car my husband pays for. Many say I’m attractive (okay, I secretly love this assertion). The picture here from the show “Black-ish” sort of reminds me of my family. My kids range in color, and I too have a set of twins. Both parents are professionals. I speak the King’s English and a little bit of the urban vernacular (heh heh, guess that makes me bilingual). I have friends from various economic classes, religious beliefs, and overall general way of life. In the next couple of weeks, we even plan on getting a family dog. All good things…Yet, I panicked at this assertion I represented the black Utopia.
Merriam online states utopia is a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions. I personally do not feel as though any of the laws, government, and social conditions have been ideal for me.
I do recognize I live a pretty decent life, perhaps better than most….but I most certainly would love to alter some aspects too.
My family maintains many of the same struggles other so called middle class American families maintain.
*With four children we stretch meals because our grocery bill is high.
*We maintain our concern regarding how we will pay for college.
*We stress over the rising cost of healthcare.
*We nag our children over their grades (I’ve recently been called a “Tiger mom”).
*Are our kids “normal”? Do we want them to be “normal”?
*Will we be able to ensure each child has the opportunity to enjoy an activity?
*Can we get our cars to last until 200k miles?
*If something happens to one of us will the other be “set”?
*How much will it cost to replace our air conditioner when it goes out?
*Maintaining job security. My husband works for himself and we still concern ourselves with this.
*How will we take care of our parents when they can no longer do it alone? Will they come live with us?
*When will we be able to retire?
*Did we save enough for retirement?
More specifically, we still maintain many of the same “black” struggles, even in our so called utopian lifestyle. Just last week my husband was pulled over in Annapolis MD for no reason. He had picked up our children from their bougeoise private school and was enroute to pick up our twins from the outrageously expensive preschool they attend. My two oldest children were in the back seat asking my husband “why did the policeman pull you over daddy?” He had not been speeding, driving erratically, driving without insurance, etcetera. He was given a warning because apparently he needed to merge onto the highway … faster… I guess. You know I am probably going to write a letter to the police department and send copies to the local newspaper outlets rights?
Later that night we made our eleven year old watch the movie 13th Amendment on Netflix. I remember sharing with him “you do not have the luxury of being average”. That is my mantra for him at least 4-5 days out of the week. But I digress…
Even in the black utopia, we are reminded who we are. We are not exempt from “laws, government, and social conditions” that afflict us in normal everyday life.
My husband and I are not in jail
My husband and I both boast higher education degrees
My husband and I are both employed in STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
I’m a black woman who is actually married
My husband enjoys being a father
We have traveled outside of country
….these all equate me to representing the black utopia?
So as far as the black utopia, what does this mean and is this as good as it gets? If you live in suburbia and send your children to good schools, is that it? The pinnacle? Does this mean I should no longer strive for something better because there is no other place to go? Apparently, I’ve already arrived in Utopia. This saddens me because the bar has been set pretty darn low.
You see, I assumed most families want the previously mentioned things… not just black families. The black populace continuously takes a beating in the media… and blacks from the African diaspora actually believe everything presented as well (I have much to say about our brethren from the African continent and their judgement of black Americans). The fact is, black families aren’t some phenomenon, happy with just being able to say we have not been in jail and that our children don’t live in the dangerous section of urban cities.
… Does my shrinking middle class existence really represent the black utopia? Are “black” ideals so low if living a PERCEIVED middle class existence represents utopia? This may be a bit of a strawman, but I guess this means the black utopia is not EXTANT if it is synonymous with my life.
Imagine my panic. Being chosen to represent the black utopia carries a lot of responsibility. I know there are many things that need adjustment moving forward.
1. In the Black Utopia, I am considered wealthy. The reality is, I am not wealthy in the conventional sense. That is reserved for the fictitious black royalty we have assigned to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Jay Z and Beyonce, Will and Jada Smith. Wealth to me is when I have both my health and the ability to buy back my time.
2. In the Black Utopia, certain black personalities are almost viewed as demigods or royalty. I personally never view entertainers as any form of royalty, let alone the aforementioned. Although I voted for President Barack Obama, I disagree with many of his policies. This belief alone makes the black community look at me with what we call a “side eye”. I do not believe Beyonce is a role model and Will and Jada Smith are just plain ole beautiful weird people.
3. In the Black Utopia, my family would be like the Huxables from the Cosby Show. Newsflash, my family is just as dysfunctional as everyone else’s. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m the only normal one in my family.
4. In the Black Utopia, black families attend church regularly. We struggle to attend church twice a month. There are times I believe my children are learning more about God from school than church itself.
5. In the Black Utopia, I would be heavily involved in community service. Unfortunately, I have not done anything significant in recent times to give back to the community. I am currently working to make changes in this area.
You can also check me out in the twitterverse @tobeextant
I would love to hear from you. Email email@example.com
Originally posted 2016-11-05 10:11:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter