Introducing the Black Middle Class

Ezra Klein continues his racial coffee blogging:

Matt’s argument about Mocha Hut actually hurts his case, because Mocha Hut, along with Busboys and Poets and 14U, are new businesses that have only entered the U Street corridor as it became…whiter. Indeed, as people like Matt, who now hangs out at those coffee shops, moved there. In this case, white is actually standing in for affluent, because the sort of people who spend $4 on a latte and demand wireless internet for their laptops tend to have money in the bank, whatever their race.

Well, okay, Ezra was using race to stand in for change in economic status but he, um, shouldn’t treat the two as interchangeable. I picked Mocha Hut as my example precisely because it has a primarily black client base. It seems to mostly be educated African-American professionals, but that’s just the point: Ezra’s econo-racial conflation gambit obscures the existence of such people, but there are tons of them — especially in majority black places like DC.