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E. Franklin Fraizier's Black Bourgeoisie - Research Paper Example

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E. Franklin Fraizier's "Black Bourgeoisie" E.F. Frazier was a pioneering African-American sociologist who was active in the NAACP and other civil rights organizations in the pre-Vietnam era. Frazier pursued a sociological interpretation of the African-American experience that was related to Marxism, the writings of W.E.B…
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E. Franklin Fraizier's Black Bourgeoisie

Download file to see previous pages... The “Black Bourgeoisie” can be seen as a type of formal refutation of the “talented tenth” theory of W.E.B. DuBois, for where DuBois saw the vanguard elements of the educated, prosperous, and successful black affluent class in America in accepting leadership responsibility for the uplift of the larger race or community from bondage in the American apartheid system of the era, Frazier in the post-war era (1950’s) saw this to have been relatively hollow and false. Rather, Frazier saw the “Black Bourgeoisie” as actually accepting “white” mainstream American values in a way that mimicked the wider oppressive society and gave little heed or moral recognition to the urgency of the poor, uneducated, and black people suffering under broader patterns of institutional racism. Instead, as shown in Frazier’s analysis of “black” media, the “talented tenth” who achieved success in relationship to the goals of the mainstream American society based on materialism were likely to be just as self-serving, hypocritical, and deaf to the needs of the poor or realities of the broader collective experience of racial segregation and discrimination. Whether or not there is anything out of the ordinary or exceptional about Frazier’s recognition can be disputed, for some argue that it reflects merely human nature in its corrupt element or the way power is used generally in society through control and coercion of others. The Marxist element of interpretation would see this as a fundamental element of Capitalism itself. In this regard, Frazier’s use of media interpretation in building a broader critique of society from the viewpoint of sociological method is innovative historically. Looking at the dynamics of the situation, early progressives, liberation, and civil rights leaders such as Dubois suggested as the educated numbers in the African-American community were educated and became integrated into the society through successful social enterprises, they would naturally accept the leadership role that led to the further development of the black community nationally. This would come through economics, as in “black business”, and also through vanguard education, values in art, literature, music, popular media, etc. Frazier counters this and suggests that it is rather a social myth with no basis in evidence after 50+ years of African American progress when he wrote in the 1950’s. He suggests that the “Black Bourgeoisie” vanguard culture is actually an assumption of the exclusionary and elitist social values of the broader capitalist system and society that also fuels and profits off of the racism of segregation. The “Black Bourgeoisie” is more inherently selfish than revolutionary, more apt to work for their own status, wealth, and prestige, even if that is defined through the lack of experience in others. Whether or not this is human nature or an aspect of corruption inherent in capitalism cannot be determined without the subjective interpretation. Thus, Frazier presents his evidence via sociological methods and media deconstruction to show the pattern of values represented in the “Black Bourgeoisie” popularly. In this regard, President Obama is one of the best examples of the “Black Bourgeoisie” in America today. He has attained the ultimate symbol of success in society, the Presidency, and as the first African-American or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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