But we rarely hear about the "plight" of the smart, intelligent negro. The torment of the talented tenth, if you will ("if you will" being a phrase only used by talented tenth negroes, btw). Aren't they, too, dealing with ramifications of that same psychology? A different strain of disorder, but ultimately the same disease...
When I went away to prep school it was through a program called Prep for Prep. In my experience it's very likely that if you went to prep school, you've heard of the program. Or at the least, one similar to it like ABC (A Better Chance). There are plenty of others now I'm sure. And it's almost become chuckle-worthy how cliché it is to come from one of these feeder programs and be a negro at one of these
When you consider the gap between what most negro children were used to when being plucked out of the urban abyss, versus how life is lived at an
For the most part in my come-up through The System, I've never heard about "gifted" or "special" caucasians. Sure you have a handful of exceptionals no matter what, geniuses and what not, but independent of those, the black kids in these schools are all hand-selected "creme de la creme" and are constantly reminded about this. You are The Chosen. And you shoulder a heavy responsibility (i.e. the liberation of the South Bronx). Meanwhile, for the most part, the caucasians mostly seem like kids who could afford to go. Nothing necessarily superlative about them.
On one side, this positive reinforcement is in many cases necessary for those raised amidst negativity swirling all around them. Ultimately what you get at prep school, the primary value, is freedom. Walking around in the Bronx, you're free, but it's a different sort. Prep school is a clean, crisp, brand-new-sheet-of-printer-paper freedom. The Bronx is cheap, used, ripped-out-of-a-notebook-and-not-even-perforated-paper freedom; it's crumpled around the edges. And if you're used to that, then it's important to be reminded that, yes, you are special. You deserve clean printer paper as much as the next person.
On the flip side, there is also a cost. Most pernicious and immediately felt is the growing disaffection for where you came from, and those not as "special." Every pat on the back is to support you, but also undermines your history. Being uprooted is good for everyone except the old pot that's not good/big enough. "You're getting out of here, you're leaving us behind, you're going to make something of yourself. Yay!!!" This is a good thing, right?
Then eventually you come to realize that "Gifted" and "Special" isn't a broadly applicable term that your mother might use. It's actually specifically unique to a bad background/history/area. You're gifted in comparison to these other deadbeat N's. You don't know what size fish you are, all you know is you must have been swimming in the smallest, dirtiest, wackest pond ever.
Through prep school, and subsequently college, this psychology is reinforced with every trip "back to the block." Every summer you return, and there's no grass, or caucasian females frolicking to and fro with nary an apprehensive thought. And you realize how much you were missing ... back then. Of course it also becomes harder to "relate" to your old homies who only know dreams of frolicking caucasian females so close you could literally reach out and caress their supple ... wait, what am I talking about again? Oh yeah: so it turns out ignorance was bliss, and now the loss of ignorance while very enlightening, is also tragic and depressing.
I'll ferret this out more at some point. But this is the sensibility that makes me think people who harp on the "N-word" or a noose are missing the slave-boat a little. There's context to everything and that context means as much as the thing itself. "Young, Gifted & Black" being constantly hammered into your dome can be as much an inhibitor to a young negro's psyche as the N-word. Maybe someone hears the n-word and is inspired to have that never apply to him. And he turns into a mogul-you-love-to-hate like Diddy or Jermaine Dupri. Meanwhile "Gifted" hears it over and over again, and gets lazy and passes the rest of his time writing a self-indulgent blog, never to realize his true potential. *cough*
Maybe the solution is balance: "That is a gifted ni**a right there! Let's give him a book and a noose and hope for the best!"