You’re so bougie… Um.. excuse me? Bougie
Out of the nineteen years I have resided on this Earth, I have lived approximately fourteen of them surrounded mostly by white people. They were the help, neighbors, friends, bosses, and anything else that you could possibly think of. Being from a proud Jamaican family, we celebrated holidays differently than our white friends to keep in touch with our roots, but the next day we returned to being the average Black/Interracial family in a white neighborhood.
As a teenage Black girl growing up in a one-sided, stuck up, and backwards country town, it was hard. My classmates made jokes about my people; some classic examples would be of young Black men running from the cops, having children before marriage, and about the absence of fathers in Black lives (But they never thought to look at their own dwindling family). They dropped ‘n*****’ every time they had a chance and used that word to describe things that worked like an animal. People automatically thought I could jump, shake my ass, and sing JUST because I was Black. They thought I was loose, ghetto, had no morals, unintelligent, poor; the list goes on and on. When I graduated high school, I thought going to college would be an escape from the stereotypes and prejudices. BOY, WAS I WRONG!
I made an oath to myself to meet as many Black people as possible my freshman year of college. After moving to Pennsylvania from New Jersey in 2007, I was culturally shocked. Everybody knew everyone’s business, wore the same flannel, used the same gun, etc. When I came to college, it was like returning back to New Jersey. I finally saw MY PEOPLE. I remember this day so clearly. I was speaking to one of my new friends and she said “you’re so bougie”. I just looked at her like she was speaking mandarin. I said to her “How am I bougie?” I’m not going to lie, I was offended. Now…my interpretation of bougie is that you’re an oreo; black on the outside and white on the inside.
My confusion only made me question her motives and reasoning behind calling me bougie. Below are some examples of WHY I was:
“You Speak White.”
First… HOW DO YOU SPEAK WHITE? I never knew speaking with proper pronunciation and most importantly, GRAMMAR was a crime. I did not know that I had to downgrade to slang and curse words to fit into the Black crowd. I did not think that I had to develop an accent of an urban area to fit in with my own people. I believed that being a decent human being and speaking to people with the same struggle as I would be enough. I never knew my struggle of being Black was any different than yours. Black is black, but I guess I am White because you specifically can’t understand American English.
“You dress White.”
ANDD?? I wear jeans,boots, infinity scarves and sweaters.. Is that not the average college student? Do I need to freeze my ass off or feel uncomfortable in class to please you? Is this another test that I need to pass to be Black? No. I don’t think so. I believe you need to open your mind to the luxuries of the world rather than hating on your own people. We all face the same problems dealing with racial discrimination. And it’s annoying to know we can’t even unite because Becky wears Forever 21 and Bionca wears Versace.
“You don’t have a Black booty.”
Damn.. this one really got me. It seems like my body isn’t good enough. I work out (I did). I was fit head to toe; not an ounce of BAD jiggle on me… BUT APPARENTLY MY BODY WAS NOT BLACK ENOUGH. Everyone is built differently and I shouldn’t feel bad for not resembling the stereotypical Black woman. Instead of degrading our own people, maybe we need to start uplifting each other and treat each other like kings and queens. We can’t say we are united if we truly aren’t. The lie will surface.
As for this friend, we still keep in touch, but it really made me think about Black unity. Our problems are the dust we pile in the corner of the room and continue to say to ourselves ‘we will clean it later’…but later has arrived… so who is going to touch the filth first?