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Black Middle Class

September 19, 1989
Considering that Los Angeles is one of the most racially segregated cities in the country, it would seem evident that it is good news that more whites are rediscovering the charm and value of some of the long-established neighborhoods of Central and Southwest Los Angeles. Slowly but surely, white buyers in search of well-built, spacious homes are returning to the neighborhoods they fled after the Watts riot--back to View Park, Baldwin Hills, Lafayette Square, Leimert Park, West Adams.
September 4, 2012 | By Robin Abcarian
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The handful of museum-goers who had come to learn about the region at the Levine Museum of the New South were a bit surprised Monday to be invited to taste several kinds of soda pop by Tom Hanchett, the museum's staff historian. Turns out the area is known for its production of sugary and caffeinated sodas, and Hanchett was making a point. Workers toiling in the cotton mills that dominated North Carolina in the 20th century needed stamina, he said, and they got it through sugar and caffeine.
May 26, 1996
Regarding Thulani Davis' self-centered review of "Waking From the Dream: My Life in the Black Middle Class," by Sam Fulwood III (April 21), I guess I should not be surprised by her disappointment in Fulwood's relative lack of black rage. I've had African American friends who reported not feeling racism during their growing-up years. They, of course, would be subject to immediate suspicion, ridicule and scorn by the black-rage establishment. Davis advances a tired and increasingly irritating agenda--how dare any black not express rage!
October 27, 1996 | Karen Grigsby Bates, Karen Grigsby Bates writes frequently for The Times' Op-Ed page and is co-author, with Karen Elyse Hudson, of "Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times," due this fall from Doubleday
Benilde Little, in her first novel, "Good Hair," has written what some might consider an oxymoron: a black comedy of manners. Contrary to what's normally seen of black Americans in the mainstream media, where crack and guns are endemic, the only things that come out blazing here are diamond engagement rings--inherited whoppers, at that. And the cracks are hairline, in beloved Limoges passed down through generations.
June 5, 2011 | By Erin Aubry Kaplan, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Malcolm X A Life of Reinvention Manning Marable Viking: 594 pp., $30 Malcolm X never died. While his contemporary Martin Luther King Jr. lives on in the noble but fixed ideal of a racially unified and enlightened America, Malcolm lives on in the fluid black discontent with the ongoing lack of justice. Forty-six years after his assassination, it is Malcolm who looks like the prophet. Though the black middle class has made spectacular gains, the struggles of the black urban working- and underclass from which Malcolm came and that still describe much of black America are substantially what they were in the '60s.
Down at the office, Gideon Skhosana is a man respected. He directs a district sales team, charts the performance of his salespeople on pegboards and schmoozes with the big customers. Skhosana jokes easily there, tilting his goateed chin back with a booming laugh. That relaxed sense of humor and his marketing skills make him "a super bloke to work for," says his secretary, who is white.
July 11, 1999
In her July 4 article for the Southern California Living section ("Where Does Black Fit In With Red, White, Blue?"), Sandy Banks refers to what she perceives to be an offensive scene in the movie "The General's Daughter." John Travolta's character, in an attempt to insult a small-town Southern sheriff, says, "Shouldn't you be off somewhere rousting coloreds?" Banks claims that the reaction of laughter from "the virtually all-white crowd" filled her with "hurt, disgust, resignation." "What does it mean," Banks writes, "that my white brethren still find humor in the image of black folks being harassed by police?"
On Crenshaw Boulevard, just yards away from a row of burning stores, a handful of well-dressed black men and women stood guard outside their businesses, carrying signs begging angry crowds of looters to spare their stores. "Burn Westwood. Burn West Los Angeles. Burn Simi Valley," the shopkeepers shouted. In the days since the stunning verdict in the Rodney G. King beating case, middle-class black Los Angeles has found itself in moral quicksand.
July 30, 2011 | Sandy Banks
When the NAACP was founded in 1909, the injustice it aimed to battle was clear: Black Americans were being lynched, denied the right to vote, restricted to ghettos, banned from schools and barred by legal segregation from public places — restaurants, theaters, swimming pools. Today, with a black man in the White House, you could argue, and some people have, that the NAACP has become a relic of a less enlightened past; an anachronism in the era of Oprah, Barack Obama and a thriving black middle class.
December 24, 2011 | Patt Morrison
Connie Rice was 13 and her father was a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base when the family drove from the high desert to church at First AME in L.A. She saw the city's ghastly gray air and said to herself, "Well, I'll never live here. " Not only has she lived here for more than two decades, her work is about making "here" livable -- survivable -- for those in what she calls L.A.'s "kill zones. " Her efforts at healing the wounded heart of L.A.'s civic life, mending the broken ties among police and power structure and the public, as well as her long journey here -- Harvard, death row cases, a passion for tae kwon do -- are laid out in her book, "Power Concedes Nothing.
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