Among Black people who have achieved higher education and class mobility exists a cancerous set of ideologies that threaten the existence of the entire race. It’s called “House Negro Syndrome.”
House Negroes foolishly believe that some indeterminate amount of achievement and success will spare them from the racial injustice inherent to being Black in the World. House Negroes have been tricked into thinking that if they climb the ladder of White supremacy (of which they will inevitably reach the concrete ceiling), they will then be able to turn around and “pull up” their community (although climbing the ladder of White supremacy often involves indoctrination into White supremacist values so deep that many Blacks who do achieve higher education and class mobility become so far removed from understanding the plight of the Black community that they couldn’t effectively help even if they had a step-by-step guide). House Negroes ahistorically believe that racial and class injustice can be eradicated if Blacks simply work hard enough.
Well, House Negroes, you’re ruining it for everybody.
To suggest, by action or by rhetoric, that Blacks should have to EARN equality, and that the worthiness of this equality will be determined and given by the very people who have oppressed them, is to concede that Whites are superior in all ways. Further, with even a basic understanding of capitalism, we know that so long as it persists, there must also be lower-classes to meet labor demands, while upper-classes own capital. And a basic understanding of the history of White imperialism and the nature of the fabric of this country lets us know that an under-class of Black (and Brown) people will always exist to serve as wage slaves whose existence is partially or entirely dependent on government sanctioned living (housing, food, child care, etc). Thus, not only is higher education and class mobility not a possibility for all Black (and Brown) people in this country, the motivation of capitalism will certainly and exactly BLOCK these advancements for large segments of the population.
But people will be allowed to slip through the cracks. And those who are allowed to slip through the cracks will always be used as examples of “progress” to silence and make illegitimate arguments that racial and class inequality is just as bad as its always been, if not worse. Enter: the House Negro. Instead of using ones higher education and class mobility to create institutions, structures, and opportunities in ones own community, in order to free one’s own people from government dependence and create cooperation-based economic systems within one’s own community to guard one’s own people against capitalistic exploitation, the House Negro uses one’s talents to the benefit of structures that are fundamentally against her. The House Negro allows the system to parade her around as being fantastically reformed against the “savage” “uneducated” and “lazy” tendencies of her people, and even turns her nose up at her own people who are still trapped in the bondages White supremacy and class inequality created for them.
The House Negro, upon validation by White Supremacy, loses all historical memory, and suddenly begins believing in a meritocracy that does not exist. Instead of challenging, in meaningful ways, the systems that holds her own people in a state of depravation, the House Negro fundamentally defends these systems. The House Negro might argue that the systems be changed in small ways that accomodate and maintain White privilege, and essentially do nothing to restore power to her own people. The House Negro might make arguments for more racial and class equality, but her solutions will be so constrained by the limits of White privilege, that the will literally not effect the growing underclass of Black (and Brown) people in any substantial way. Essentially, once indoctrinated into the ideologies of White supremacy, any action the House Negro takes towards racial and class justice will be token and meaningless. Because the House Negro has achieved small semblances of power and prestige by the measure of White supremacy, she has no motivation to truly challenge White Supremacy.
Higher education* and class mobility are good things. Those of us who can should strive to achieve both, so that we can return to our communities with restored minds and economic power and rebuild them. However, too often, people acquire education and class mobility and become comfortable in systems of White class privilege. They get comfortable sitting at the foot rest of their oppressors and forget about their communities which are being targeted for slave wage labor, prison labor and literal death. They become blinded by their own accomplishments and become too attached to their own ego to continue to see themselves as part of a community, and continue to see the plight of their community as their own plight too. They become House Negroes.
And they’re ruining it. For everybody.