Regarding being whitewashed...
In a public policy class in college (Race and Ethnicity in America), we were talking about what it is to be black. I am not black, but most of the people who were black said things along the same lines: Black people struggle with identity. Who are we as a people? What defines us, other than the color of our skin?
At which point it occurred to me: maybe much of the problem is that struggle has worked its way into the idea of what it means to be black. Maybe struggle has become the black identity for many people, which would explain why black people who are successful or want to be sucessful are ridiculed by their own people.
I grew up in Oakland, so I've seen it first hand--black people who want to get somewhere in life face huge social pressure. It's way more acceptable to be mediocre (or worse) than it is to be smart and successful. If you're smart and get good grades, you're being white. You dress nicely, you're being white.
Since when are intelligence and class white-only traits???
It's like, Black = Struggle. No struggle = not black. What's up with that???
I mean, the only people who rag on Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell or Bryant Gumbel or Oprah are either (a) ridiculous white supremicists, or (b) black people who say they're not "black enough."
How awful is that? The only people who ridicule rich, sucessful blacks are crazy white supremicists and other blacks themselves!
Personally, I think the whole ghetto rapper thing just perpetuates the cycle, because they get rich, but they don't get educated. Or maybe they do--but they don't let us know it, because that would ruin their market niche....
Regular people need to have more Bryant Gumbels and Condoleza Rices, or even just professors and teachers, as role models. Why? Because it's a lot easier to get scholarships for college, even if it's just a regional one, and then get a good job (with which you can support your family and help them get an education and more wealth building skills etc in general) than it is to land a recording deal and suddenly be catapulted out of your struggle... Same thing with professional sports. Those are long shots.
And while "huge media mogul" (i.e. Oprah) is a long shot as well, "local reporter" isn't really. And that's how Oprah started. Music or professional sports are basically all or nothing: you either make it huge, or you make nothing. There is very little in between...But a college education is virtually guaranteed to help both you and your family, even if it takes a generation or two... (My mother was the first and only person in her family to go to college (with loans up the wazoo), and now both my brother and I are continuing on (with only some loans as of right now, though law school will change that). I plan to see to it that my kids continue on too, and maybe they won't need any loans, y'know?...)
The way I see it, this whole "black = struggle" thing has got to stop. What happened to Black and Proud? Seems to me like the only acceptable phrase has become "Struggling and Proud." And it really shouldn't be that way... "Successful and Proud" has a much better ring to it...