Rich People, Poor Judgment

Over at TNC's place, Cynic has a complaint:

I bristle when I see people discuss the culture of poverty as a pathology. That's too self-congratulatory, and too cramped a view. The reality is that, like all cultures, it has aspects that translate well to other circumstances, those that translate poorly, and those that are just plain different. And that's no different than the Culture of Affluence.

Ta-Nehisi riffs on the theme:

People talk about reading books as being written off as "acting-white." I guess. Here's what I know about that: When I was eighteen, binge-drinking and snorting coke was "acting white." I was at Howard then, where a large swath of the student population hailed from high schools where most people didn't go to college. Most of us had watched the crack era unfold firsthand. The notion of coming to college and essentially tempting suicide was seen as the province of "The Culture Of Affluence," of the rich and the foolish, of the white.

And now for our standard disclaimer: This is an expression of how it was processed at the time, and not an accurate depiction of the great variety and richness of the white American experience. I can well imagine that there were also plenty of poor white kids at that time who dismissed such practices as "The Culture of Affluence" also. I am offering some reflection on how we processed the world, and not how the world, in its complex totality, actually worked.