Intellectual interests, pursuits, and expertise are also class factors. I’ll admit my snobbishness is intellectually based. My reasons why aren’t well-organized, but I think it is because I view education and intellectualism as egalitarian pursuits. You don’t have to come from a particular family or social class to be well-read and up on current events. You don’t have to come from a long line of scholars or artists to become one yourself or to help others become scholars or artists. It is a free and open. So, why aren’t more people pursuing art and scholarship? Why don't “hard-working (white) Americans” or “folks from the hood” appreciate scholarly pursuits?
Where is the American Intelligentsia? First, I’ll define the word. It describes the scientific, literary, artistic and other intellectual members of society. The term is Russian in origin and used around the time of the Bolshevik Revolution and Lenin during which time the critical, thinking members of society were hunted down. Sometimes, I feel like that is happening today – in this nation. The wave and devotion to anti-intellectualism and carnal pursuits leaves me slack-jawed. Not to mention the angry response to Presidential Candidate Barack Obama & his wife and their Ivy League Educations. (Let’s be clear – Hillary and George W and John Kerry and most Presidential candidates have Ivy League or Posh college & law school educations. What makes the Obamas so uppity?)
And I feel like the Black Community has a heaping extra dose of this herd-stupidity. Kids, especially young men, are chastised for doing well in school. Crack smoking. This aversion to education or even informal scholarly pursuits just seems to make class differences (and exclusions) within our demographic more pronounced. And despite some economic levying, my patience with “financially well-off” blacks but who are as un-read and un-discerning as my sweet-hearted, but “country-as-a-dozen-of- eggs” Delta Mississippi relatives makes me want to cull the Black middle class herd.
So, where is the African-American Intelligentsia? I found his New York Times Article -Magazine for the Black Intelligentsia produced by Law Professor Randall Kennedy.
There was, for example, a long polemic blasting Harvard Law School for what its author saw as a stress on "white cultural norms" at the expense of "subordinate communities."
"It was clear for a long time that if you went to a bookstore or a newsstand, you wouldn't find a black American equivalent of a Commentary Magazine or a Tikkun," Professor Kennedy said during an interview at Harvard. The reference was to magazines, one generally conservative and the other liberal, that focus on Jewish issues. "That was a real weakness for the African-American intelligentsia, which hasn't had much of an institutional base," he said.
Professor Randall Kennedy’s comment about there being NO institutional base for Black Intellectualism or Intelligentsia was very true. Considering I’d never heard of this magazine - Reconstruction - until now, and it didn’t last too long, proves it didn’t become an institutional base either. So many concerned Black citizens and Black intellectuals have been put out over the prevailing imagery (and hi-jacking) of Black American culture by BET and other Ghetto-isms, maybe this is the intra-community publicity war worth taking on. Build up the Black Intelligentsia! (?) Can we do that without becoming evil snobbish tyrants against our less educated brethren? I don’t know.