Events/Campaigns, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

America F*ck Yeah: Help! I’m Middle Class in Washington, DC

You think they're helping her with homework. What's really happening is daddy is telling her that she has two years max in private school. She's got to pick the two years and promise to make the most of them. After that, public school my ninja.

You think they’re helping her with homework. What’s really happening is daddy is telling her that she has two years max in private school. She’s got to pick the two years and promise to make the most of them. After that, public school my ninja.

You know, if I lived in Toledo, I’d probably be winning. Or maybe Des Moines. Consequently, if I lived in Detroit, I’d be Supreme Ruler Almigh-ty. But as luck would have it, I live in Washington, DC. This means that though the IRS thinks that I’m affluent, I’m really not. I’m more like getting by on good looks, charm, and my job. See, I’m one of those middle class folks who lives a nice middle class life, though in as urban a setting as possible. One time at bandcamp, somebody left a grocery cart from our neighborhood grocery store at the mailbox. It’s possible that whoever left it was trying to mail a shopping cart to a relative. It’s also possible that I’m too sexxy for my shirt, so sexxy it hurts. Neither of which is true.

While my education, and therefore, employment have afforded me luxuries such as a nice townhome that costs the price of a good-sized estate in most Southern states and a vehicle with great gas mileage, I also have a child. This means that I’ve got to deal with the most daunting task that any middle class person is forced to wrassle with: education.

Le f*ck.

Let me tell you something. You people without children are dodging all types of bullets in these streets. See, my daughter’s mother and I are both very well-educated and very well employed. We’re also just smart people. Genetically, it seems like we may have hit the lottery in regards to my child’s intelligence. She’s whipping piano’s arse and taking names. She’s beastmoding her Pre-K education, and clearly well above a significant number of her classmates in aptitude at this point. She’s not in public school, but a charter school, and people in DC will tell you what a battleground the charter vs public school war has become.

Can I be frank? Thank you, Frank. Save for a scant few, DC public schools leave much to be desired…by almost anybody. This is why charter school enrollment has exploded in this city in the past 10 years. My daughter is in a KIPP school. Have you seen Waiting For Superman? One of the schools profiled was a KIPP school and it’s a wonderful environment,place, and setting. But let’s be real, for special children who are a little bit smarter than the average bear – in major urban centers – you really need to send your kid to a private school. It’s not that the teachers and administrators can’t teach your kid; it’s just that when you have a child with an insatiable desire to learn – such is the case with Young Panamontana – you run into the need to feed the beast, so to speak.

Except, have you seen the prices for private school? Holy rusted metal, Batman. Thus far, it seems like the average annual price of tuition is in the $20-$25K range. That doesn’t even include the fees for entry and special stuff that kids who go to private schools do. I have no earthly idea how people pay for these things. Seriously. But there they go with straight face and nary a “gotcha!” in sight asking me to drop for a year what Rick Ross spends in one night at King of Diamonds (not clue whose return on investment will go further as of press time). Given my salary and apparent caste in life, I’m trying to figure out how somebody who does pretty doggone well is supposed to legitimately drop that kind of dough for a child’s education. Which, again, the return on investment is questionable at this point. Pretty much at my daughter’s age, you’re paying for security, access to resources, and…umm, lack of diversity.

Which is a whole other beast. See, you may not know this, but I’m Black. My daughter’s mother is also Black. So my child is…

…class?…

…Black. Private schools seem to be notoriously not Black. I have a problem with this. Forgive me for what I’m about to say but remember, half of my family is also white.

Ready?

Little white privileged kids seem to be some assholes. I’m afraid of turning my child into one or having her end up feeling outcast-ed because she’s the token. But you know what else sucks? She’s an outsider at her own school too. So I’ve got a different child (all positive though…you don’t want it with Hov), who has already proven to be gifted who is in need of a challenge so as to maximize her intelligence while maintaining a social balance so she gets to be a normal kid too.

Mind you, these are all good problems to have. But they are problems nonetheless. I’ve spent my educational years working to get to this point where I’m a bit too far beyond my public school options but have not quite made it far enough to avail myself of the private school options. I can’t walk into any office and claim to be a parent in need. One look at my W-2 and they may charge me for the visit.

At one point, I decided to move into the Southeastern section of DC. I bought a house there eventually. SE is the Black part of town and also, perception-wise, the bad part of town. Crime happens here, but this is DC so it happens all over the city. But perception is a motherlover so my part of SE – east of the river – remains the non-gentrified part of the city no matter what the newspapers and optimistic idealists try to tell you. Either way, I, a highly educated, well paid, employed individual was trying to move into SE.

I called no less than 5 apartment complexes and was met with various, “you make too much money to come live here.” messages. So let me get this right…I wanted to move into the part of town with my people, but I made too much money to do so. But I didn’t make enough money to live in the “desirable” part of town either. Not by myself and looking for at least a 2 bedroom apartment.

So I’m too broke for the well-to-do, and make too much for the rest of the populace, and my taxes subsidize programs I’ll never qualify for to use. Meanwhile, I’m trying to find a way to make sure my child gets the education she deserves that for the next 10+ years can run me nearly $200K before she even gets to college.

Basically, Panamontana needs to get a job. Even if daddy is considered affluent by the people who take 38 percent of my pay check.

I’m middle class in DC.

America. F*ck yeah.

  • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

    Bullet dodger? Guilty as charged. Like Neo after ish started clicking for him. Every time I start to even entertain the idea of children, I come across something like this and sit my azz down. Reading these facts and figures is literary birth control.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      Not that I’m thinking about having a child any time soon, but I agree, best birth control ever.

      • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

        At least you have some time to start a “child fund” while you wait. It won’t be getting any easier/cheaper-That just adds an extra layer of protection.

    • Anyango

      I so feel you and some of my peers are on baby number three????????? Like how do you afford that? This ‘it will all work out’ doesn’t work for me!

      • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

        Sometimes it hurts looking at having children as a mathematical equation. Many of us choose not to after we run the numbers. It used to be that the strongest and smartest of us survive and reproduce. The way things are going, only the wealthy will be able to raise children well. If you read between the lines, there’s a disgusting reality there.

        For those that really want children, fight for them and make the sacrifices, but be realistic on what you may have to give up. For me the price is too high and I’m convinced that I’ll never be able to give a child the type of upbringing and education that I’d want them to have. I could pull it off but only at the expense of being an absentee, stressed out parent that may one day take it out on them and others I care about. I want to do it right or not at all.

        • Anyango

          Things are so tight. We were discussing how owning a home has now become a pipe dream something that was a foregone conclusion for our parents. I stress so much about money that the thought of a child fully depending on me , yet not being able to delver what they need, I just can’t see how it will work.

          I know I have my own issues of not even being sure if I want kids but the economic implications scare me. Education being top of the list!

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

          im an accountant, everything is numbers….even my sisters and brothers have 1 kid or dont want any…whats sadder is the ones who probably can or would make it work arent reproducing and the ones who really shouldve waited are mass producing

        • panamajackson

          I didnt mean it to come off so doomsday. Children are definitely doable. My child doesn’t want for anything and she will definitely get the education she deserves somehow. I look at it like this, im struggling at points but doing way better than my parents were. If the goal of life is to make things a little bit easier for those that come after you, well, im winning.

          • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

            I’m here with you. Early on, the childcare expenses aren’t so bad. For me, it’s a question of what gets sacrificed. It’s not being able to do the perks like travelling, saving goo-gads of money, taking vacations. But the bills are paid, the fam is healthy and happy and we are being wise with our money to make things better for our kid(s) in the long run.

          • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

            Most of what I wrote is based on my own personal fears and hesitation. You’re making people think today about stuff that shouldn’t be overlooked. I look up to and am very proud of ya’ll out here pulling it off, raising our future. Right now I’ll just be happy doing my part being (hopefully) a positive role-model.

      • WIP

        tax credits and hand-me-downs…

  • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

    I currently nanny. The parents of the boy I watch both pull well into the 6 figures range. The school he currently attends costs $22,000/yr His parents are currently 5 years into his private school education. Each day I pick him up from school I count the children waiting outside for their respective nannies to get them. There’s usually at least $1M waiting outside each day.

    I am thankful that I am childless. No extra mouths to feed. No rules to enforce. No one I have to worry about. I’ve got a good 10 more years of said freedom to enjoy :-)

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      So in other words to u raise children for women to lazy to raise their own. *smh *

      • Camilleblu

        For women that are too lazy?? Come on Todd.

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          A bit harsh… But every time I see a nanny in NYC, I think of slavery. I straight want to go Harriet Tubman for those women..

          • Yoles

            they both work… hard i resume to afford to give that child that education and nanny… too far todd… back in the day nanny was just a babysitter/governess etc… no bad stigma attached i have no idea where the word nanny comes from (it makes me think of goats) but children need care and however parents provide it, i am for it

            • Shamira

              “Todd you are officially going in my “issues with women” list….”

              who has the official divorce countdown?

            • Yonnie

              To recap for those late to the show:

              They both have a son.
              They both have a nanny.
              They both work.
              They both make over $100,000/year.
              The MOTHER is lazy.

              Do I have that right @disqus_jaQFOkPNbv:disqus?

              • Yoles

                sometimes i am shocked, just shocked at the things typed out on this very site…

              • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

                I corrected myself and called out the dad for laziness too. So in my book, they’re BOTH lazy.

          • Camilleblu

            Well, you can’t assume to understand someone else’s life Todd. I know a couple, both doctors, one in private practice, both have demanding careers. They have a nanny and I completely understand why. Plus, it’s interesting that you said SHE was lazy, when AP said that both parents make 6 figures. So, dad’s not lazy as well? I know several people that have nannied and none of them were treated like slaves.

            • panamajackson

              the plot thickens.

          • panamajackson

            My boy has an au pair. Sh*t makes sense if you can afford it when you have multiple children just due to the amount for day care.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        Please. His mother and father make moves daily and are the antithesis of lazy. I’m not out here putting children on my teet and raising them as my own. I am someone they know personally who has been able to step in and make sure that their son is crossing his “t’s” and dotting all his “i’s”. They can afford to have me around to tie up loose ends and see to it that he’s cared for while they are at work.

        This woman has done a fine job raising this boy save for some obvious spoiling. With all the ammunition you put on this site I could be petty and ask you some questions about the way your child’s mother raises your own but honestly that doesn’t concern me and my account.

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          Feel free to call out the mother of my child. I will join you and feed you info that I don’t put on here.

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            I’m not calling her out. I’m telling you that my presence in a home has nothing to do with the apparent laziness or lack thereof of two people who have a child.

      • Yonnie

        She said that BOTH of the parents make “well” over $100,000/year. If two people get up and go out and make over $100,000/year, then how is one of them, the woman, lazy? Sir. Your sexism is showing. Tuck it in.

        • panamajackson

          aside, but people telling folks to tuck stuff in usually makes me laugh.

    • Vesalius

      LOL@”There’s usually at least $1M waiting outside each day.”

    • panamajackson

      It’s amazing how much private school costs. The numbers I’ve seen are astronomical at this point.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        I’m so torn about things like this. It’s great that parents can afford to give their kids the best of the best and they should! I have a soft spot for kids who didn’t get the silver spoon though. It isn’t their fault that they weren’t born into the same financial situation as some of these other children. This is why I’m working so hard to do as much as I can for these kids who “don’t have”. They are just as deserving as any other child :-(

        • Michelle

          Ditto.
          I also hate the assumptions (both thinly veiled and blatant) that adults put on the students and even the teachers of public schools.
          I know a few “educated” (who are not teachers or a part of the education system) individuals who have painted public schools (even day care centers) with the “Lean On Me” brush with the shade of “The Prinicpal” paint.

          • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

            “Lean On Me” brush with the shade of “The Prinicpal” paint.

            lol! that’s funny. People want ONE scapegoat. But education is a societal endeavor that takes place 24/7, and if one component of that environment is out of whack, then there’s going to be an imbalance, period.

      • Yoles

        jesus h christ… i never looked up the cost of schools before… dee’s daughter goes to UN school… why is the tuition before any additional fees $28,800 ANNUALLY… and they do not offer a scholarship program

        OMG… i am in shock… why are the schools so expensive???? what are they teaching there?!?!?!

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          I think the price tag is so high due to a number of things. I’ll use my lil baby as an example lol

          He has significantly smaller classroom sizes compared to public schools
          He is being taught via a philosophy that is more focused on individual growth/learning as opposed to “teaching to test”
          He is given opportunities within school to explore a variety of foreign languages, arts, sports, etc.
          His daily meals are significantly better than whatever cardboard crap I ate in elementary school
          He enjoys state of the art EVERYTHING at the school
          Teachers are not so much burdened by performance pressures and are able to truly cater their lesson plans around each individual class

          The list goes on and on……

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          In fairness to UNIS, most of the kids there are the children of the various diplomats attached to the UN. Their home governments pay for the tuition, not the parents, as a part of their salary package. The kids aren’t particularly balling.

        • WIP

          “what are they teaching there?”
          that’s a good question…

  • iamnotakata

    Have you tried the suburbs?? I received a first class education in the burbs and it was free minus the high a*s taxes my parents had to pay. Or are yalls burbs corrupted as well?

    • Val

      That’s the thing, it wasn’t free. You have to pay the price of admission to live in the burbs. And these days that can be a very high price.

      • iamnotakata

        I actually find it cheaper to live in the burbs than in the city. The enormously overpriced rent I am paying to live with a damn roommate right now is disgusting and it is because I am living in the city. Now if I liked traffic and relocated to the burbs, my rent would decrease substantially.

        • Val

          Rent? Forget rent, unless you plan on living in an apartment all of your life. Otherwise home ownership and all that goes along with that is the very high price of admission.

          • iamnotakata

            I am aware of all of that, but even in regards to home purchasing, you are going to pay way more in the city and you will receive far less in the name of square footage along with the hefty price you pay. And you will likely not even purchase a home with a yard in such more than likely it will be a townhome, loft or condo. But I am in no position in my life to purchase a home so straight apartment living until I confirm the professional degree.

            • Val

              Okay, we must be thinking of two different kinds of suburbs. Lol

              • Epsilonicus

                You my also be thinking about the DC situation versus other cities

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

          i currently live in the suburbs and i will say the schools do appear to be better

          • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

            property taxes are used to fund the schools. that’s how the government works to keep the status quo in place.

            • Val

              That’s the dirty little (open) secret of public education in America.

          • panamajackson

            If I could afford to live in the burbs of my choice in the DC area (likely certain parts of Alexandria, VA or Fairfax) I’d be on it.

        • panamajackson

          I think this is dependent on where you live. Sure there are much cheaper suburbs than the central city in most places. Just like there are really expensive burbs with the schools you’d want. In the DC area, thats the problem, all the folks with money live in the burbs already and drive up the prices. You aint winning living in the burbs unless you live in PG County, and I’m not living in PG County. Or Loudon County (VA)…too damn far.

    • panamajackson

      So here’s the issue with that in this area (DC). To live in the burbs I’d want, I’d have to pay more than I pay to live in my neighborhood in DC. Which basically means I need to get married.

  • Yoles

    no kids here but i feel for the parents i really do… these non public schools quaker, charter, magnet, montessori etc cost a grip…

    now on to the faux middle class, can we speak on that for a second? what is really good? contrary to popular belief i don’t think ppl in ny, dc, la are popping bottles & making it rain on hos all the time… why can’t the money stretch?????????

    • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

      Everything costs more, people make less. Middle class is becoming extinct. Either you’re ballin’ or near broke in the grand scheme of things.

      • Val

        That’s why I’m planning/ dreaming of dropping out and living off-the-grid. I don’t want to be on the middle-class merry-go-round, it sucks. Being middle class is really about how much debt you have. I want to live a debt free life.

        • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

          I’ve looked into that but I don’t know if I could go that extreme. I’m all about cutting out unnecessary stuff and living much leaner though. Even if I came into amazing steady money, I’d live way under what I could afford.

          • Val

            Yep, it is extreme but, being middle class is becoming extreme too.

            • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

              I’ll put it to you this way- I’ll only play a game I can actually win. I need a middle class label like a hole in the head. I’ll do what’s best for me and stay winning.

        • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

          Oooh, I’m right there with you. I see no good use for debt in my life. Not even for conventionally acceptable things like cars or home improvement. I’d rather save up the cash and skip paying interest, so no one has anything over my head.

          • Val

            Interest is a killer for most Black folks. On average we pay more in interest than White folks and that’s with comparable credit histories. So, I’m with you on avoiding it at all costs.

      • Yoles

        but thats the thing trip… everything doesn’t cost more… when i have visited other states/cities that don’t have the “median income” of the above three… they have cheaper property but they never seem to have the access to inexpensive things that i do in ny… everywhere i turn there is a way to spend less on things (not rent and gas).. other cities not so much, they have walmart and that is it… where i live walmart still has competition… why doesn’t this balance things out and let me make it rain on hos?

        *i survived the first rounds of layoffs at my job… YAY i guess, but i have decided if i do not make it past the second round i am taking a 13week travel contract…

        does anyone have any suggestions on what city/state i should choose that would allow me to ball out while remaining relatively safe???? pls and thx vsf

        • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

          Naturally, Atlanta, Georgia. The rent is crazy low in comparison to larger metro areas and they have a balance of city and suburb that won’t tax your wallet heavily, depending on where you’re staying.

        • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

          Yolie, my experience is coming from the metro tri-state area, so I’m not seeing much in the way of price breaks. I’m “trying” to eventually do the kind of work that allows me the freedom to choose another area where my dollar goes farther, so I feel you on the relocation.

          Congrats on making it through the first round.

        • panamajackson

          Two words for you, Idaho.

          • Yoles

            i’m not sure if you are saying:

            A) you are available for me to make it rain ON you

            2) that state is on the come up

            III) some joke that i definitely do not get…

            • panamajackson

              There was no joke. I went to public school. Idaho sounds like two words.

              • ForeverCC

                my mother was taught (by her public school elementary teacher) how to remember the capital of Idaho: ida – ho cuz she likes boys :/

          • miss t-lee

            You dayum well ain’t nobody tryna live out there, even for free. *snickers*

        • Shamira

          There are a lot of places…you just wouldnt want to necessarily live there. For example, I stay getting recruited for really well-paying positions in Sioux Falls, SD…a lot of financial organizations have operations there and my skillset would be useful. But…its Sioux Falls, SD. I’d spent half of my income flying out every weekend. The other half would be spent on my heat bill.

          • Yoles

            well thats NOT an answer…
            i will admit that nursing has much more room that all you specialty people in regards to places with opportunities but i refuse to leave NYC for Noplace, Nowhere, USA

            • WIP

              Try Miami. It’s a little country, a little city, nurses don’t want for anything in FL. COL in most of the state is low, higher in Miami but not that bad.

              • afronica

                Plus, doesn’t Yoles speak Spanish? Perfect!

            • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

              all day i dream of Costa Rica ~*~

              • Yoles

                @disqus_ZiXVPIulwQ:disqus i swear if you give me the word we can book a trip there posthaste… i am so down to go to Costa Rica for 2 weeks… i am ready, my body is ready…

                • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                  i can definitely make it happen. lets pow wow. i need some sun, man i am fading away and suffering the Vitamin D withdrawals ever since tar beach closed for the season ~*~

        • Epsilonicus

          Baltimore metro region. Very affordable hosuing (compared to NY 7 DC) yet you are close enough that you could commute and make DC money… or work at Johns Hopkins and make tons of stacks.

          • Val

            Speaking of Bmore. Do they have “The Wire” tours there?

            • Epsilonicus

              Nope. We would never disrespect our city like that. No poverty porn here

              • Val

                I didn’t mean it like that. I was thinking more along the lines of locations that became familiar ones on the show. Like the little cafe the Greek worked out of, the docks, the bars they went to, etc.

                • Epsilonicus

                  There are none that I know of.

    • Val

      Being middle class is a trap. Moreso now than ever. It just means that you are somehow able to pay all of your bills each month while being able to go to a nice restaurant 2 or 3 times a month. While you don’t have enough left over to save a significant amount and therefore become dependent on credit for any extras like emergencies or vacations.

      • Kema

        Preach! I dont really feel much more comfy than I did when I was eligible for food stamps and subsidized housing. :-(

        • Val

          The way the system is now, there’s little difference in terms of struggle between those entering the middle class and those who are poor. In fact the only difference is that those entering the middle class have access to credit and the poor don’t.

      • panamajackson

        I stopped carrying credit cards with me anywhere but out of town trips. It’s too easy to just charge stuff and hope to pay it back later.

      • Epsilonicus

        It depends on the middle class you are talking about. Is it middle class the technical definition or the trappings.

        I know too many folks who are middle class and yet don’t fall into the trappings. That is really what my generation is all about. We want the income but not things holding back.

        From my life experience as homeless, I would so much rather be middle class.

    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

      middle class is a passing phenomenon in human history. we take it as a given, but it’s an aberration in the long view of wo/mankind. just like literacy, this too shall pass ..

      • Yoles

        why do you think literacy is gonna pass…. that lil bit you added to the end of your statement scared me more than the thought of becoming “working poor”…

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

          literacy is aberrant in human history, as it is aberrant around the world today. most people never learn to read or write, and many who are taught to read and write do neither beyond a basic functioning level.

          i believe literacy has been primarily the tool of the ruling class it institutionalize their power and control while distributing propaganda in the service of mind and social control. if we examine literacy as a phenomenon unto itself, we can begin to discover the way in which the printed word has exacerbated the flagrant destruction of the earth.

          now, the written word, which is my master, is a very tricky thing. it most certainly be used to liberate the mind, but this is far from a common or institutionalized practice.

          I first coined the term “post literacy” last year when writing about photography because it is clear to me (let’s chalk it up to my mystical intellect) that the image (still and moving) and oral tradition will once again replace the written word.

          it’s already happening. the Internet is the primary vehicle for this. that said, i cannot gauge the effect of post literacy, but i trust it will be keeping the same mind and social control patterns the literate world enforces.

    • Joanna

      I’m still in college so these struggles haven’t become real to me as of yet. But seriously, my family was firmly middle (depending on the year, we might dabble in the upper middle) class…until my older sister went off to college which happened to coincide with the peak of the recession. Seeing how both my parents are medical professionals, the recession didn’t affect us SUPER bad…my sister’s education did (then mine did three years later). Even with scholarships. Living away from home ain’t cheap.

    • Tentpole

      The issue with the BLACK middle class is that we like to live above our means because we have become hooked on material goods. We have gone from beating your unruly for disrupting class to beating up the teacher for saying your child is unruly. We seem to want the big house, the premium autos. and luxury vacations at the expense of build strong communities where public schools can be a place to prevent the development of a prision mindset instead of just being a place for adolesent daycare.

      • Val

        Come on, Tent, I think you’ve been watching too many reality shows. I know and have known lots of Black folks who make living below their means a way of life. They don’t buy new cars, they don’t upgrade their homes to exclusive hoods, they don’t buy designer anythings and even give a little back to their communities.

        So, can we stop with the gross generalizations, please.

        • Tentpole

          Val, my comments are based on the events I see in my environment. I know many who don’t live above their means, but I also know those who do. The number of parents who spend money on their children so they can have, phones, clothes, and other material things, but can’t send their kid to college or invest in a tutor so their child can read or add better. It’s truly sad because many of them don’t know how to be parents. As a BLACK person my concern is my people and their development. The ohters seem to know how to take care of their own and they can seem to even sacarfice a few for the greater good.

      • Yoles

        i’m not comfortable with the black middle class distinction either @disqus_QGKOTi1oX5:disqus… ppl work and use their income both responsibly and irresponsibly… is it really the black middle class spilling crystal on the floor and buying louboutins to go to the club while baby doesn’t have a winter coat?

      • Shamira

        This is not a black problem. Americans as a whole have a tendency to live beyond their means. We “own” homes we cant afford, “buy” cars that are a total waste and tend to not be able to make the distinction between wants and needs….this isnt new. The difference is a larger portion of white families have a safety net as opposed to their black counterparts. Inherited wealth will always trump new money in that regard.

      • afronica

        Agree: Down South, I grew up in a town full of fronting Black folk. Mink on the back at church but purchased with a store credit card at high high interest. Leased luxury car. A new piece of jewelry every year, but again with that store credit card. I moved to the DMV and saw the same thing to the third power.

        Disagree: Basically, all the points Val, Yoles and Shamira make are true. I do know Black people who are living below their means and save like it’s a sport. They may have nice things, but they buy and hold those nice things for years and years. Consumerism ad infinitum is an American sport, and Americans aren’t the only ones. Newly rich/middle class Chinese, Japanese, etc. are playing that game to win, too.

        Paradigm shift: I read the blog post linked below a few days ago. I am still processing its implications.
        http://tressiemc.com/2013/10/29/the-logic-of-stupid-poor-people/

  • Val

    Oh good grief. Private schools you say? Well, I attended a few, that’s right a few private schools, don’t judge me. My first was a Catholic school. And, it was probably the best school I attended. Great teachers, very diverse, the whole nine.

    I also attended private secular schools. They were pretty much bulls*it. I mean, if these schools were on your transcript you’d definitely get the attention of college admissions. But, they were still bulls*it. The kids were unfocused pill popping weed heads. The teachers were busy trying to be cool with the kids. The result was, if you didn’t develop superhuman discipline and work ethic as a student then you’d fail miserably in college.

    So, would I send my kid to a private school. H*ll yes! Public school in most cities is just not an option. A good alternative though, from what I’ve heard, are charter schools. So, it seems like you are on the right track with your little one, PJ.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      damn detroit really became a 3rd world city

      • Val

        Not quite but close to it. But I see it as a city with amazing possibilities.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      I heard people are doing that. Buying up property for pennies on the dollar and sitting on it until Detroit comes out of this slump.

      • SuperStrings

        People have been doing this for 40 years, and Detroit still hasn’t come out of its slump.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          Aww :-( this is really sad.

        • Val

          I think you’d agree that in the last 3 or 4 years Detroit has hit rock bottom. Nowhere to go but up at that point, IMO.

        • panamajackson

          right. lol. folks waiting that out like folks were waiting out slavery.

      • Val

        Yeah, I’m sure people are. For me it’s the opportunity to own a house outright as well as a lot of property to go along with it. There’s a lot of open land in Detroit these days. So much in fact that people are actually starting to farm commercially there. Detroit could end up being a hub for organic food!

    • panamajackson

      Yeah, I jokingly took a shot at the D, but real spit…if you get like 100 folks together to start an investment club and whatever…you could totally buy Detroit.

      • Val

        I was thinking along those same lines, PJ. With the right people you could really do well not only investing in Detroit but you could create a nice intentional community on the serious cheap.

  • TheGoodGirl

    The struggle! You just made me put off parenthood by another 10 years. Lol. On a serious note, there is actually a documentary on this topic playing at the E St. Cinema in DC. It’s called American Promise & it’s about two middle class black families from Brooklyn who send their kids to Dalton (an elite private school in Manhattan). They basically watch their sons become ostracized at one point or another, not to say that giving your kid exposure & resources is worthless- but it has it’s cost. Emotionally and for you, financially. Good luck! I’m just going to stay in my apartment in NW and freeze my eggs until I become a multi-millionaire. Lol.

    • panamajackson

      Hey, a plan is a plan. LOL.

  • nillalatte

    My first comment is in jail so here’s my second contribution (yes, feel special, mama ain’t had much time)…. diversity. Again, I am the product of public school. My high school was 70% black. I attended a HBCU. For my kids, their schools have been an interesting mix of a lot of different peoples. It helps to live in a diverse city, but you still have to seek out the schools where diversity is literally created by the administration.

    • Val

      Hiya, Nilla!

      *waves*

      Yeah, it does really help living in a diverse city. Otherwise life can get really crappy for a kid of color attending a majority school.

      • nillalatte

        Hi Val! *waves back* It ain’t that easy for a kid lacking color on the other end either. Just sayin :D

        • Val

          True.

    • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

      Never knew that about you (HS and College) but I’m not surprised.

      • nillalatte

        Trip, you’re a trip! I have a lot of ‘secrets’ LOL ;)

        • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

          I bet you do Nilla baby =)

          I can’t be out here losing focus though. I got a few of my own and I need to keep ‘em close right now ;)

  • Oshun

    I have nothing to contribute to this peculiarity but quick question did anyone find out who is the madam getting inched?

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      Maybe. Maybe not. ;-)

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

    this was my plight growing up, i was a gifted child, i would go to pilot programs at private schools for afterschool programs, saturday courses and summer camps but as far as actually attending one, my parents looked at that tuition bill and was like…nah. thats just the way the cookie crumbles when you have 6 siblings.

    with that in mind, if or when i have kids i reeeeally only want 1, maybe 2 depending on where im at status wise. also boston public schools are fuggin terrible, teachers and bus drivers strike almost monthly, they pretty much sticking schools in strip malls now…education, the best birth control out right now

    • SuperStrings

      “boston public schools are fuggin terrible”
      I went to the Trotter school for elementary, and it was a magnet school back then. I looked it up recently. It’s no longer a magnet school, and the stats are horrible.

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

        i went to latin academy which is touted as a good school even though its equidistant to about 6 hoods

        • SuperStrings

          I went to Boston Latin for 7th, 8th, and 9th grades before we moved out of state. When did you graduate Academy? My cousin went there.

    • panamajackson

      Man…that’s so hilarious its sad.

      “Education, the best birth control out right now.”

      You could put that on a bumper sticker and win at life.

  • me

    Check out the Black Student Fund. They can and do subsidize some or all of the cost of an independent school education…

    Or…just move to Fairfax/Arlington/or MoCo.

    • Epsilonicus

      Baltimore would be a better choice and you could still work in DC

    • Camilleblu

      I don’t see that Fairfax/Arlington is that much cheaper – but maybe that’s because I’m comparing it to my city.

    • panamajackson

      We’re looking into the Black Student Fund. Already on it.