`` Lifting As We Climb ``

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“Until we realize our ideal, we are going to idealize our real” (212 Higginbotham). If Nannie Burroughs said this during a Poetry Slam, a lot of people would have sore fingers. The line is not only a chiasmus, but a call for uplift. The National Training School sought to take the ordinary aspects of life for black women during the turn of the century (1900s), and make them extraordinary. Through respectability politics, black Americans would denounce the negative stereotypes imputed to them, and strive towards a new image of themselves. But, what about those defiant few, who object to respectability politics? In Randall Kennedy’s, Lifting as We Climb, he quotes Jason Riley, a black conservative, who blames “bad Negroes” for his frequent…show more content…
Thankfully, Harris includes what Nutter leaves out: Nutter’s thirty-minute talk neglected to mention the lack of opportunities for black youth in his city; the national unemployment rate for black sixteen-to-nineteen-year-olds now hovers around 30 percent, and in cities like Philadelphia and New York it is closer to 40 percent. Nor did Nutter speak to the severe budget cuts to public services that have occurred under his administration, particularly in the city’s division of parks and recreation. Nor did he consider the difficulties that children faced in Philadelphia’s public school system, which is rated among the worst in the nation and is so fiscally stressed that in September the city threatened to keep schools closed when the school year began. A lack of employment opportunities, public services, and quality educational facilities are just as culpable as poorly fitted skinny jeans. Perhaps—dare I say—even more culpable. There is truth in the absurdity. Every black youth, banishing their hoodies to the deepest crevices of their closets, and strapping on a tie or rolling up stockings will not reduce unemployment, restore the budgets of public services, or lessen the strain on the school system. In other words, the cosmetic improvements from respectability politics will neither guarantee an opportunity, nor ameliorate the structural inadequacies of the city. Respectability politics are simply the reason a young black teenager seeking work

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