This past weekend I attended a restaurant opening with a girlfriend of mine who comes from "the Gold Coast" of Washington, DC. For those of you who are unaware of what I'm referring to, the Gold Coast represents neighborhoods that have become enclaves for the upper echelons of black families to insulate themselves from the rest of us. They are wealthy, powerful, and influential. The progeny of these families are divided into two schools: Old Money and New Money. Typically, the old money blacks are even more exclusive than the Gold Coast Families and in order to enter such circles of black elitism would take an act of God. Even then, unless you show up with Jesus to an induction ceremony, don't hold your breath for that invitation to Jack and Jill or the Links.
Now, I have always been fascinated with black american classicism because I came from a consistently middle class family. We are not poor, but we are also not rich. We are well educated, attended the best schools, and worked for practically everything we have. We were indoctrinated with a certain value system, identity, and moral fiber. Some of us have strayed away from some of the ways of our rearing, but the fundamental things remain the same. This seems to be a pretty common thread in Black Middle Class families. We also have a strong sense of pride in being black americans and we often honor and venerate our ancestors and other great blacks as well. All of my neighborhood and child hood friends are college educated and most have advanced or terminal degrees (this is an important part that will be more thoroughly discussed later).
From my observations of my friend and her Gold Coast friends (as well as other Gold Coasters in other parts of the country), I found them to be particularly entertaining. These were the creme de la creme of blackness (in their own minds) and they made sure I knew it. They spoke of ski trips to Vail, vacation homes in Jackson Hole, Obnoxious parties, and patent excess. I saw a young lady with a 62,000.00 Louis Vuitton "patch" bag (only a few dozen or so have been made), Men with 10,000.00 dollar custom suits, and several magnums of LR Cristal, Grand Cru Bollinger, and Veuve. It was absolutely amazing! Hell, I think I saw every major runway designer's collections at this party. We get to a part where my girlfriend formally introduces me to people and she tries to play up my "pedigree" to make sure that I was accepted by her group. As I started to shake hands and engage people in conversation, I made it clear that I was not like them. Nonetheless, they seemed cordial and we began to converse about many things but they steered the conversation topics.
When it became my turn to segue into something different I started talking about identity politics. I made a statement to the affect that many wealthy blacks have a tendency to validate themselves through their ability to imitate "white" folk... badly. In this particular case I