PostBourgie is a running, semi-orderly conversation about class and politics and media and gender and whatever else we can think of. It represents the views of its authors and not those of their respective employers or organizations with which they are affiliated.
belleisa | Brooklyn | Queens | publishing
blackink | Houston | Tampa | journalism
Brokey McPoverty | Louisville | writer
G.D. | South Philly | Brooklyn | journalism
Jamelle | VA | public policy
shani-o | NorCal| North Jersey| education
slb | B-more | Michigan | writer/professor
quadmoniker | Arkansas | CT | writer/journalist
Alisa | St. Vincent and the Grenadines | psychologist
Banner by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
The word ‘postbourgie’ was coined during a semi-serious conversation between a good friend and me. What prompted it? We’re not sure anymore. It may have come in the aftermath of Bill Cosby’s pound cake speech. Or maybe some overheated panel discussion condemning ‘coonery’ in the media. Or maybe some dude lamenting how black folks have fared since The Great Fall from the Unparalleled Golden Age of Upstanding Negritude.
Anyway, we were raising our eyebrows at something, ‘cuz well, that’s how we get down. We grew up in the hood (she in Brooklyn, me in South Philly), so the classism that animates so many conversations about the Myriad Ills of Black America always seemed to get our Spidey-senses tingling. We doled out impassioned eyerolls to the teachers who said we ‘spoke well.’ Ditto to the bourgie folks who got indignant about ‘ghetto names.’ And we didn’t do cotillions or frats or sororities.
But here we were as young adults —news junkies, hip-hop heads, smart-asses and autodidacts who grew up in the hood — suddenly smack dab in the middle class, wielding much of the same privilege we’d always criticized. We were surrounded by and socializing with self-congratulating Negroes who patted each other on the back because they were about something and self-congratulating white folks who patted themselves on the back because they had black friends. (But damn it if we didn’t love the sushi!)
So where did we fit in?
We agreed that labels were silly and reductive. So, of course, we created one.
“We’re post-bourgie,” she said. Or I said. It doesn’t really matter. And we chuckled.