Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class


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Our kind of people : inside America's Black upper class / Lawrence Otis Graham

I read the book as research for a novel I am writing, and I am so glad I found it. Feb 21, Shenell Houston rated it it was ok. This book was written to give America the inside scoop of the "Black Elite of America," something that is rarely shown or heard of. The author begins by introducing us to his whole reasoning behind the book. Graham is a self-professed "Black Elite" and was sparked to write this book after meeting with a very successful, wealthy, and influential African American business man who asked how he should go about ensuring his daughters had a "black experience.

And from here the horse race begins. Graham gives us the origins of the "Black Elite" which I appreciated as it showed that African-Americans of today came from more than just slaves; they also came from free blacks who had never been enslaved, indentured servants, and immigrants who willingly came to the New World. Another thing I found enjoyable from the book was, the "Black Elite checklist.

I won't go too much into detail here as you can read it yourself, so I'll be moving along. One thing I did seem to notice is that the author provides us with a lot of names that are used repeatedly throughout the book. If I had to read about so-in-so one more time I was going to burst! What I really kept wondering while reading this book was, "Is the checklist still relevant? I think it would be really interesting to see Lawrence Graham do a new edition of this book to see how much, if any, has now changed to the "checklist.

For the second part, Graham breaks down the history of the "Black Elite" in several major cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.

Our Kind of People (Graham) - LitLovers

Each city gets its own chapter. I really feel like this entire section of the book was uncalled for. After reading the first two cities, I quickly got bored. I soon started asking myself, "Who cares? Even in different cities, the people the author interviewed had connections to previous names mentioned in previous cities.

I hate to say it but this part of the book made me really dislike it, so much that I even contemplated not finishing it. Well I didn't exactly not finish it.

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I just skipped the other cities and went straight to the last chapter: skin color. Now this chapter, I felt, deserved a lot more time then it got. To me, it felt like the author was in a rush to wrap things up and did not get the spotlight it deserved. Basically the chapter discusses the taboo of "passing," meaning a fair complected African American passing as a Caucasian person and choosing to live as a Caucasian.

Overall, the book was just okay to me. Would I read it again? Definitely not. Would I suggest it to a friend?


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Although it was just okay, I feel this book is very beneficial to anyone who wants to broaden their mind about a certain group of people and expand their knowledge. Jan 22, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: academic-required-reading , african-american-lit. I applaud this author for writing a fascinating book about the Black Upper Class. There are so many books about Blacks being slaves that I grew tired of reading about it. Although it is apart of history, can we at least talk about their culture or how at one time they were Kings and Queens?

I must have seen every movie relating to slavery or when we were subordinate. I am so tired of the stereotypes, pardon my tangent but that annoys me. Now unto this book, I have to say that the writing style w I applaud this author for writing a fascinating book about the Black Upper Class.

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Now unto this book, I have to say that the writing style was compelling but very wordy. I skimmed a few passages because of how repetitive and dense it was at times, but I admired how rich the content was. However, it was not a book that caught me by surprise. Originally I thought I was going to be about African Americans in the s,, but it was mainly about the author story of how he discovered how rich the culture of African Americans was.

Told from his own personal story and how he was raised by the people around him. I think the culture is too rich to cover it all but the author did a great job hitting the highlights. I decided to read this mainly because I am taking a race class that aligns very close to the contents of this book. It was a much needed true story, glad that the author had the courage to write such a daring book.

View 2 comments. Aug 23, Dawniece rated it it was ok. One of the most painful books I have ever read. Oct 12, Mara rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction. I got my hands on this book by accident, it was in a box of romance and fantasy books a friend sent me from abroad.

However, I did give it a chance, despite my complete lack of knowledge on the subject and on the American class system in general. The author's writing style could use a lot of improvement. Many parts of the book were tedious to read, thanks to constant repetition. Also, the author often came off as smug and pretentious, sometimes envious of his peers that were better off, sometimes I got my hands on this book by accident, it was in a box of romance and fantasy books a friend sent me from abroad. Also, the author often came off as smug and pretentious, sometimes envious of his peers that were better off, sometimes projecting his own attitudes and prejudices onto others.

On the other hand, the subject matter was fascinating, and I did feel like I learned something.

I especially found interesting the final part of the book, that deals with skin color and "passing" pretending to be white. Even today, many people measure themselves by their skin tone where lighter is better , not just African Americans, but in Asia as well India, Japan.

I remember seeing an uproar over some skin-whitening cream that was made for the Indian market I think it was Garnier , and this book reminded me of all those things. If only the author had been a better writer, I could have given this book more stars and a recommendation. As it is, though Oct 31, Vivienne Neal rated it it was amazing.

An excellent book, which focuses primarily on wealthy African American who are rarely talked about or seen in the mainstream media. Looking back historically to the rise of the middle and upper class Blacks, along with their pettiness and generosity, the reader gets a excellent understanding as to why there is such a disconnect among African Americans today.

With all of the trials and tribulations that African Americans have had to face since being brought to this country, namely Jim Crow laws, An excellent book, which focuses primarily on wealthy African American who are rarely talked about or seen in the mainstream media.

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Our Kind Of People

With all of the trials and tribulations that African Americans have had to face since being brought to this country, namely Jim Crow laws, discrimination and segregation, it is great to see how these influential people and their organizations were able to and still do produce some of the most successful men and women. These individuals continue to contribute to this country, and yet there is still a divide among its citizens based on income, education, social status and color. This book should be mandatory reading in schools.

The author has brought us a priceless piece of history. Aug 16, Latonya Rochelle rated it it was ok. Lawrence Otis Graham gives a pretentious, shallow, and rather obnoxious portrayal of the s black elite. Reading this book in seems outdated and almost silly. Does this really still apply? But the black upper middle class has Lawrence Otis Graham gives a pretentious, shallow, and rather obnoxious portrayal of the s black elite.

But the black upper middle class has expanded so much that some of the key concepts such as generations of Morehouse men in your family if you live in Atlanta or how many summers you've spent at Sag Harbor are so stale. The last few chapters on black elite in various cities was a yawnfest. I feel sorry for the uppity and exaggerated superiority views of some of the interviewees in the book. It seems plain silly to only want to be amongst snobby black folks all the time.

Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class
Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class
Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class
Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class
Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class
Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class
Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class
Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Black Upper Class

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