Are We Rich? By Margo Jefferson

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Margo Jefferson’s excerpt “Are We Rich?” is part of a memoir in 2015 entitled, Negroland. As its name suggested, the discussion within her story is mainly about the issue of race in America. This simple question asked to her mother, Mrs. Jefferson, demonstrated how clueless and innocent Young Margo was when it comes to the tension among the different ethnic groups and different social classes. She even stated, “I am about to receive general instructions in the liturgies of race and class” from her mother who tried the explain in simpler terms discrimination among African Americans to a child. Margo was born in an affluent family with respectable parents, but in the modern world affluence is not given to every family. Economic stability…show more content…
This shows that the tension between races and ethnicities starts at a young age as an innocent gesture. Since this excerpt is a recollection from her young childhood years, her innocent life started experiencing discrimination which had infiltrated into modern education systems and taken root in society. Jefferson mother stated after she was asked the question “Are We Rich?” from Little Margo, and she replied, “we’re considered upper-class Negroes and upper-middle class Americans, but most people would like to consider us Just More Negroes.” Even after successfully navigating life through colleges and jobs, the social community acts indifferently about the plight of the Black Americans. It classified the Negroes into two groups, “upper-class Negroes” and the doing well but not too well Negro Americans. Compared to other black people they are considered to be very successful, but when wealthy white Americans are brought into the picture, they are just middle class. Why can’t the Negro Americans be as privileged and successful as their white counterparts? There are many tensions among the working class and the privileged blacks, which impacted Young Margo to be susceptible to different perceptions of class and race. The complications with how money determines one’s social standing and ability to influence others is even scarier. Being an elite family, the Jefferson family have many employees that they depend on to get their regular chores and cleaning

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