Editor’s Note: While family members and self-conscious losers will throw out the word bougie in order to make themselves feel better about putting us down, many people ARE bougie, and more than earn the label due to their elitist behavior.
What Does It All Mean?
I was reading an article recently where the author was lamenting the fact that she had been called bougie (black slang for bourgeois, which essentially means an elitist faker). From reading the commentary and people sharing their stories of receiving this label from family members and the like, I realized that I had the same things going as those who had been called bougie in the past. You know… education, a love for food and wine, reading, going places where people don’t normally go… etc. etc.
The difference however is that I have never been given the label; sure I’ve been called weird, nerd or even derogatory terms, but bougie is a label that was never thrown at me. It made me wonder why – so I took a look internally at what differentiated me from people who got the label and finally it dawned on me, I am not an elitist.
If you get called bougie by a stranger, chances are you were out of line somewhere and being a douche in the general sense. You were giving people judgmental glances (lots of women do this), speaking French loudly in a place where you knew people wouldn’t understand you, or being a wine Nazi of the worst kind.
Women Are Called Bougie, Men Are Called Something Else
Men are rarely called bougie, if you are a black man that has been called this by another man I will say that the name caller is either picking at you playfully or you are a second away from an ass whipping.
No, we men get called a number of other things, names like high siddity, brand new, uppity negro, Tom, Carlton Banks, the list goes on. Sure I’ve gotten the stares of wonderment from the city mouse and the country mouse alike as to what side of the fence I sat on (I’m undeniably black but cleaner than a bar of soap – if you get my drift), but never have I been labeled any of these things even though I love to partake in the finer, worldly things in life.
Do you know why I have never been labeled Bougie?
1. I don’t have loud bougie conversations in public places – Even I hate people who do this. Keep your conversations private like they are meant to be and don’t sit in a crowded room speaking a romance language (French, Spanish or Italian) loudly as if you want others to be impressed.
“Look honey that negro is speaking something other than negro!”
I swear that bougie is the black variation of the word douchebag because many of the offenders share the same traits. Keep it low and private, nobody is impressed that you took 6 years of Italian, trust me.
2. I know that nobody cares about my education – I have a 4-year degree, I’ve held a solid career and I’ve done many things that people would deem “successful”, and this sentence is one of the only times I have admitted to this. When you proclaim your accolades as if the world owes you a cookie, you are likely to piss someone off because nobody cares, nobody wants to hear it and it really isn’t that impressive. Tell you what, cure Cancer and you can brag about that forever – people will at least respect that even if you talk about it all the time.
3. I do not correct people’s language or lack of culture – The other day I ran into friends at the birthday party of a man of honor that I know. One of the women in attendance is of Chinese descent and approached me about a movie I had posted about in the past and we got to talking. When I mentioned one of the movies I mispronounced the Chinese title and she quickly corrected me in a very condescending tone. A few nights before this I saw another girl laugh at a guy for ordering red wine with his chicken – these examples earned them the label “bougie” because it really isn’t that serious to people. I never asked for the pronunciation and dude wanted red wine.
How to stay clear of the bougie label
Trust me, I cringe at people’s spelling, pronunciation and lack of culture but I was not put on this earth to “civilize the savage”, so I make sure that I am straight and I keep it moving. People appreciate that. I dress clean like a prep, love the hell out of a sports coat and can appreciate a $60 plate of food but the people who take it a step further to assume that this makes them “a step above” are the ones that people dislike as a whole.
Being labeled bougie puts you on par with the dude who got a $1500 check back from an accident, buys a used Mercedes and drives it slowly through the neighborhood bumping Watch The Throne on high so that everybody sees him. Nobody likes a faker, a loudmouth or a snob. It isn’t the world’s lack of culture that got you the label so don’t go playing innocent when it gets thrown at you, chances are you earned it in one facet of the way or the other. Let’s keep it classy.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.