Why so Bougie?

Writer credit: Christina Jane
Published by Wondrous Occasions LLC


There is a quiz on the popular Buzz Feed website titled “How Bougie are you?” There were many options for the quiz such as;

“You’ve adopted a simpler version of your “urban” name”,

“You avoid places that “certain types” of black people frequent”,

“You fervently hate Tyler Perry”,

“You consider yourself a part of the “Talented Tenth.”

This commentary is also addressed in the film “Dear White People”. There was a scene where the south side Chicago roots of a black character were exposed to her dismay and as a response, she blinked her green eyed contacts and said “there is nothing hood about me”. Although lighthearted references, it points to a serious issue of what is currently happening within the Black Community.

Bougie people tend to fall in one of a few categories. They’ve always had “It”, they didn’t have “it” at one time and now do, or they don’t have “it” but want you to think they do (i.e. “elitist posers”). “It” can be many things; money, intelligence, prominent background, and a myriad of other things that society may hold in a high regard.  For the sake of this conversation, we can immediately eliminate the first category. People who always had “it” typically don’t feel the need to always make people aware of it. It is the other 2 that are causing the most divide amongst Black Women.

Women in general tend to judge each other harshly. In can be engrained in us to judge one another from head to toe. “Wow her weave tracks are showing!” or “She needs to wear spanks under that dress.” The default action for many women is to judge people when they are taking part in something we deem unacceptable. We need look deeper and examine what this really means.

The girl whose tracks were showing at the club could have been your next best friend if you didn’t come to judgment so quickly. In order to continue to inspire and uplift each other, the first step would be to stop using superficial circumstances to determine how or if we interact with each other. Keisha who lived two streets down may have had a baby at 16 but now she is in nursing school. There is no need to hang that over her head at the 10 year class reunion despite her accomplishments. So what if she went to Santa Monica College and you went to Howard and grad school at Yale. That should never be a point of judgment. As long as we are all bettering ourselves through higher education, that is all that should matter. We should rejoice in each other’s triumphs rather than using them to judge one another.

Another reason why the “bougie” movement can be problematic at times is because of the lack of mentorship and networking opportunities that we miss out on because of it. One example of where this is occurring is in corporate America. Black Women especially tend to lack mentorship in this arena.  This is partially due to numbers but also is reflective of a societal divide.

Due to our history of oppression, the “get out the hood” mentality has been rampant. Once we make it, we get “out” and go far away from our roots. While there have been huge strides made in giving back to the community through mentors, we can do better at that. Black Women need reach back and pull people up and inspire each other to do better despite the circumstance. Society judges us enough. We need to stop judging each other.

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