The Middle-Class Black’s Burden
By Leanita McClain (Newsweek, October 1980)
I am a member of the black middle class who has had it with being patted on the head by white hands and slapped in the face by black hands for my success.
My life abounds in incongruities. Fresh from a vacation in Paris, I may, a week later, be on the milk-run Trailways bus in Deep South back-country attending the funeral of an ancient uncle whose world stretched only 50 miles and who never learned to read.
I run a gauntlet between two worlds, and i am cursed and blessed by both. I travel, observe, and take part in both; I can also be used by both. I have a foot in each world, but i cannot fool myself about either. I can see the transparent deceptions of some whites and the bitter hopelessness of some blacks.
Whites won’t believe I remain culturally different; blacks won’t believe I remain culturally the same.