The Harlem Renaissance was economically a haven for Black Americans during the 1910s through the 1930s. After being an economic backbone of America, first going through slave labor and exploited or surplus, Black American got a chance to begin creating their economic footprint during the Great Migration, which started in 1916. During the Great Migration many Blacks Americans moved to cities across the U.S. in search of establishing socio-economic advancement across America, such as representation, wages, education, business ownership, and more. My blog site explores the start to socio-economic racial uplift and the importance of it.
In Dissecting the “Pull yourself up by your own bootstrap” Theory post will illustrate how Black Americans established their socio-economic footprint in America in different ways. In the pull themselves up by their bootstraps theory touches upon the phrase’s commonly accepted meaning evolved, and now when we tell people to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” it’s implying that socioeconomic advancement is something that everyone has an equal chance to. However, in “Pull yourself up by your own bootstrap” it talks about the article “When children talk health” by Jane E.B. Harvey states the importance of education in a development to children in Black communities. This posts an example of how Black Americans advance through the difficult socio-economic climate.
“Passing through” analyzes Nella Larsen’s novel Passing (1929). This book focuses on the act of passing for white and how both main characters Irene and Clare navigate the socio-economic climate during the 1920s. Throughout the book and movie, we see the main characters Irene and Clare having to adapt to their environment in different ways. We have heard the term “pull yourself up by their bootstraps” thrown around as a term used in the socioeconomic domain to imply that everyone has equal footing in rising through the socio-economic ladder. However, this is simply not true because White Americans had better footing in the socio-economic climate due to white supremacy. White supremacy has been the foundation of the socio-economic environment in America. This is the reason why we had slavery, segregation, police brutality etc. Therefore, the two main characters that lived in during the times of segregation, had to leverage passing to not only fulfill their desires but to survive as well. Irene symbolizes rebellion as she tries to fight against white supremacy by constantly reaffirming her blackness not only to herself but to others around her, while Clare symbolizes a chameleon. I chose chameleons because they can change the color of their skin to match the environment, which is the exact same method we see Clare use by being able to become a black woman or white woman by leveraging white supremacy and segregation. Clare does this for her own personal gain. This blog post connects the importance of socio-economic uplift because it questions what does racial uplift look like? When exploring the book, we see both Irene and Clare moved up in socio-economic status. However, one of the main characters, Clare, leverages passing to her personal advantage.
The “First Crisis Discovered” analyzes “The Trope of a New Negro” by Henry Luis Gates, which touches upon the importance of Black representation in media after slavery to the 1920s. The “First Crisis Discovered” post discusses how The Crisis captured the Black experience in America. A picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore, it’s imperative that Black Americans are able to control the narrative and have representation for that narrative. As well as being able to have a platform to portray themselves and experiences to the world. We have seen in the previous paragraph that the socio-economic environment of America favors predominantly White Americans. The question I will be answering is: why is Black representation important? The answer is simple survival. To drive this further here is a quote from “The Trope of a New Negro” saying, “Black seems to have felt the need to attempt to reconstruct their image to whites probably since that dreadful day in 1619 when the first boatload of us disembarked in Virginia” Gates illustrates insight of how some Black American’s during those time felt like what they needed to do in order to survive. As well as proving the lack of Black representation not only just media. However, with that being said we have seen magazines like The Crisis with W.E.B. Dubois is trying to give that representation through writing.
Throughout the post it all has accumulated into one important question: is it hard to track socio-economic uplift of Black Americans? The answer to this question is yes. According to “Class Dynamics in Chester Himes’s Harlem” by Norlisha F. Crawford, “The precision of Himes’s focus on causal effect is an important distinction to not because historically images have used in popular culture forms to suggest that blacks are themselves depraved, abnormal, negligible beings, thereby justifying first their enslavement” (p. 4). This illustrates that tracking socio-economic uplift is hard to track because of how the mainstream ignores economic deprivation and institutional neglect of Black Americans, which causes a certain behavioral response that demonizes Black Americans. Mainstream decides to focus on the behavioral response of Black Americans instead of the cause of the behavioral response. We have seen this playout throughout history even to the present day. That socio-economic deprivation and institutional neglect is only a justifiable “excuse” towards the white counterparts of America compared to Black America. An example of this is on May 14th, 2022, in Buffalo New York when white teenager named Payton Gendron gunned down 10 people and was able to surrender. This statement from one of the victim’s family members to the New York Times stating “Ms. Simmons, who is Black, said the fact that the gunman was able to surrender showed disparity. If that had been my son, it would have never been surrender. We never had a chance to surrender,” Ms. Simmons said. “It would never be that way”. Now the message here isn’t saying that the police should’ve shot at the shooter. The point here is how mainstream society responds to Payton’s tantrums versus how George Floyd was treated. We must recognize within Black Modernity that this problem isn’t stuck in one period of time but displays itself in different forms throughout history.
There are two main things that make my blog significant. One this blog site will give you insight that you haven’t seen before. Secondly, I made sure my blog site is inclusive to everyone. The reason why being inclusive is so valuable is because for the longest time Black America has been recently heard over the years but not understood. Social Economic uplift doesn’t have equal opportunity for everyone. The key insight in recognizing within social economic the good and the bad.