Negro Middle Class

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the negro middle class-the negro "establishment."

The middle class in this reference refers to more than economic means or social status. It means holding, sometimes sub-consciously, many of the same negative values about lower-class blacks as racist whites without taking into consideration how and why people are kept poor. Historically, the black middle class was created as a buffer between whites and poorer blacks. As a group they would have more investment in maintaining the status quo (the way things are) in America than the poor. Malcolm X was critical because he felt that by embracing such values, this group and their organizations, refused to see how they were being used and contributing to the lack of equality. In January of 1965, Malcolm explained "I'm for anything (movement) that they're (the middle class) involved in that gets meaningful results for the masses of our people-- but not for the benefit of a few hand-picked Negroes at the top who get prestige and credit , and all the while the masses problems remain unsolved."