Learning to live:middle class manifesto

Many of us are learning what it means to be the black middle class.
We are rising from poverty and despondency
And assuming responsibility for our generation.
But for many of us, it is unclear whether our newfound status
Is a tool or a trophy.
A trophy in the sense of having finally ‘made it’
We live a life of relative comfort where the basics are covered
And we have a little left over to enjoy.
And we can spend our days working harder (and smarter) to get more.
Or a tool where we realize that, actually
It shouldn’t have been so hard to get here.
That the world is actually not ‘doing you a favor’
By allowing you to be here. You belong here.
And so we can live in the reality that
Now that we are privileged, we seek to use that privilege
As leverage to allow others to not have to struggle in the same ways we did,
Just as much as  we use our leverage to make a better life for ourselves and our families.
The thing we need to learn is the delicate balance
Of choosing when to speak up and call out things that need to be called out,
Being wary of the middle class complacency that perpetuates a status quo
That has kept most of us darker faces as part of a lower class for far too long,
And at the same time realizing that we must be held accountable
To making significant contributions that benefit all of us,
Regardless of where we come from
And being damn good at what we do.
Ours is to live socially relevant, human race-advancing lives,
Exercising our moral muscle as much as our economic and social ones.
It is not ‘either’, ‘or’, its ‘both’, ‘and’-
Yes, we made it, and yes it was about time, and yes things need to change.
Lets make a tool out of our trophies.
The schools have taught us how to make a living
Now we must learn to live.


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