False Assumptions in My of My Mind and “I’m a Black Gentrifier, But My Success Is Invisible”

Link: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/theslice/im-a-black-gentrifier-but-my-success-is-invisible-1-6-15

After I finished Octavia Butler’s Mind of My Mind, it occurred to me that my opinion of Mary drastically changed from the beginning of the book to the end. At the beginning, I actually found her to be quite likable because she was a typical teenager (besides her telepathic abilities) that was trying to find her way in life. By the end, I couldn’t stand her because she became so power hungry that she wanted to control anything and everything that was involved in her pattern. Ever since she was born, she was considered to be a huge success of Doro’s inbreeding program. In terms of telepathics, she was elite. However, being a black telepath exposed her to being condemned for the color of her skin instead of her actions. The effect of this was exemplified when Karl showed distaste towards Mary. At first, she automatically assumed it was because of her race and asked him how he felt about black people. Because this was not the case, Karl corrected her by stating that him not wanting her in his house had nothing to do with her being black. It had to do with the fact that he simply did not like her.

In Kashana Cauley’s article “I’m a Black Gentrifier, But My Success Is Invisible”, she was repeatedly asked if she was an East Village native because she was African American. Although she wasn’t ashamed of her race, she felt like it made her successes as a lawyer completely invisible to people in her neighborhood. She discusses how black individuals aren’t associated with being a part of the middle class and are typically considered to be an “other”. Kashana considers herself to be a black gentrifier, because she is part of a gentrifier group who is willing to pay high rent and had a successful job. Although she acknowledged that being a gentrifier isn’t always compliment, she explains that “we are the college-educated or entrepreneurial descendants of black people who had fewer opportunities than we had. We make the sort of money that college-educated and entrepreneurial white people make. We move to neighborhoods like the East Village because we are attracted to the same things as everyone else who moves there: the trendy and nationally-known restaurants and bars, the excellent shopping, the dog run and community events in Tompkins Square Park, the newly renovated running path along the East River.” Once Kashana moved to Prospect Heights, she felt more comfortable with her identity as a successful black lawyer. This was because of the fact that many hardworking individuals of color lived there. As a result, it’s inhabitants did not automatically classify her as an “other” because of her race.

So, how both of these texts relate to one another? Before she gained control of her fellow telepaths within her pattern, Mary was out-casted. Everyone hated her, and Jesse tried to bring everyone together in order to overthrow her. Although it may not have been for the right reasons, Mary was successful in terms of having an elite telepathic ability and being able to gather many individuals within her pattern. On the other hand, when she lived in East Village, Kashana Cauley was automatically assumed to be a member of a lower class because of her race despite the fact that she was a lawyer and had a professional and successful career.

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