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Monday, January 23, 2012

Why do we fear the word bougie?

Bougie is a fighting word in some black circles.
It's an insult to someone trying to keep it real.
But guess what, bougie only means you've inched closer to your dreams. It's not a class battle --because revolutionaries can be bougie too-- it's not that you've forgotten where you've come from, you've just upgraded your address.
I have an author friend, Michele Grant, who makes bougie look good. You know why? Her books are filled with characters that I know, college educated people, folks with issues my friends and I struggle with everyday. And don't thing the bougie don't have drama.

Last week, The Washington Post addressed bougie and that's what got me thinking about why black folks don't want to be called bougie. It's almost as if some of us embrace some other words that we're called, but not this one.
Here's what the Post had to say:

What bothers me is when my boughie friends --  a group of software developers, attorneys and other professionals -- adamantly deny being boughie because it’s a dirty word in our community. They scoff at the word like they are ashamed that their upwardly mobile transgressions lead to a better life.
Just the other day a single, attorney friend of mine asked me to pray on the phone with her to ask God to bring her a man with money. Not chump change, but real cash that will enable her to live an upper-middle class life. I jokingly said “Okay, boughie” and she said she didn’t meet the qualifications for that label.
I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t claim the word, her word, and proudly admit to wanting a posh life. I wanted to tell her “Your parents struggled to put you through school and you busted your butt to graduate (twice). It’s okay to want a man who’s also accomplished and financially sound so that both of you can enjoy the benefits of hard work.
And my bougie author friend, who was quoted in the article, sums things up like this:

“The whole essence of bougie is being upwardly mobile, being educated, carrying yourself in a certain way,” says Michele Grant, author of the Black ’n Bougie blog. “Once you get there, you don’t want to necesasrily go backwards in lifestyle.”
I concur. 

1 comment:

Findingmeagain said...

I have no problem with being bougie. It seems we have so many young black men and women readily accepting being "gangster" and I don't get it. I worked hard for my education. I'm not ashamed of it. I strive to be bougie..lol.