Quiz: Are You Bourgie?

by Stacia L. Brown

bourgie

Bourgie. It’s a word with which the black community is fairly familiar. But depending on your attitude toward it, you may feel a little comfortable owning it as an identifier. Is “bourgie” a pejorative, a badge of honor, or something in the middle? For the purposes of this fun little self-assessment, let’s give it the most charitable definition possible. Today, for our Clutch quiz, bourgie will mean ironically hifalutin or playfully snooty, perhaps a little given to putting on pretentious airs but also rather aware of what you’re doing.

Hopefully that takes the edge off, for those who score as bourgie here, even though they’ve always considered that term to be a jab.

Answer the following questions, see how you fair, and post your results in our comments section:

1. If given the choice, where would you suggest meeting a group of six friends for a meal?

a. The brunch spot that was recently featured in your city’s Sunday Style section as the new “It Spot” for young, minority professionals.
b. A trendy tapas bar, where wine flows in abundance, and the music is a mellow mix of Robin Thicke, Kem, and Maxwell.
c. An inexpensive low-end spot like TGI Friday’s or Red Robin where everyone’s appetizers will be cheap and plentiful and some big game will be blaring from an overhead TV.

2. Your younger cousin is applying to colleges. What type of school would you suggest?

a. An Ivy League or Big Ten university. If you’ve got the grades and extracurriculars, it’s the only way to go.
b. An HBCU, of course — but you’d push Howard, Hampton, Morehouse, or Spelman, especially.
c. Whichever place has the best program for her selected major, with the most attractive financial aid package or the most affordable tuition price tag.

3. When “questionable” portrayals of blacks crop up in the media (as in the case of Shawty Lo’s now-defunct reality show), you respond in the following way:

a. Petition, boycott, express moral outrage! These reality shows are a reflection on our whole community and you, for one, do not take kindly at seeing your own debased for the entertainment of others.
b. Shake your head and say it’s a real shame that there can’t be more news reports and reality shows about black folks doing positive things.
c. Understand the offense of your community takes to the portrayal as legitimate, but decide to sit most of these moral outrage movements out.

4. When Bill Cosby first gave his now infamous “pound cake speech,” you:

a. Co-signed to the fullest! Pull up your pants, young man.

b. Wondered if he might be oversimplifying the multifaceted issues that contribute to decreased achievement stats in urban communities.
c. Longed for the bearded Bill Cosby of the ’70s.

5. When you heard about the imminent release of Tarantino’s Django Unchained, you:

a. scoffed at the idea and immediately cited Tarantino’s love affair with the N-word and fetishization of black culture as reason enough to boycott.
b. decided you have to see it for yourself, but only to have an intelligent conversation about the many levels on which it would probably fail.
c. knew immediately that you’d be there on opening night! Come on, who can resist a slavery era spaghetti Western?!

6. On Thursdays at 10 pm, you:

a. log out of Twitter read a book. Scandal is not for you. You just don’t see what people see in it.
b. host an in-home Scandal party with your closest friends, complete with large glasses of wine, and a running commentary on the perfection of Kerry Washington’s wardrobe.
c. live-tweet, chuckle, and accept how implausible it all is while enjoying its addictive merits.

7. Which of the following would disqualify a guy from a second date with you?

a. He didn’t attend a four-year college, and he drives a used, economy car.
b. He wore jeans on a non-jean occasion and he drank one too many beers.
c. You just weren’t compatible. It isn’t going anywhere.

Results:

Mostly a’s: Oh, you’re bourgie, all right. You have a great deal of drive and are committed to the highest achievement possible. You expect the same commitment and drive from others. You fully engage in the politics of respectability–and why shouldn’t you? You think black folks could use a bit more self-respect across the board, and you find positive portrayals of blacks in the media to be a personal ego boost for you. Your belief that we’re all a reflection on one another can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it means you’re often accused of being preachy and judgmental, but on the other hand, your willingness to take responsibility for others can be inspirational. Remember that your perspective is different from — not superior to — others, and ensure that your tone skirts condescension as often as possible, especially with family and friends.

Mostly b.’s: You’re a little bourgie. You like high-end things and proximity to “respectable,” “positive” endeavors (and the people who initiate them). You’re upwardly mobile and may occasionally refer to certain behaviors in distancing ways: “ghetto,” “hood,” or “ratchet.” You would never do anything that could be classified in those ways (except maybe listen to some misogynistic hip-hop). But you’re not necessarily a pearl-clutcher, either. You enjoy a good episode of black reality TV, where wig-snatching and drink tossing is likely to occur. You don’t like your significant other to be *too* straight-laced. And you don’t see the actions of all black folks as a reflection on you. This balance is usually a good thing. You’re open to differences of opinion and perspective, even as you hold your own values and morals in pretty high esteem.

Mostly c’s: No one’s gonna mistake you for bourgie. You’re very “live and let live” with yours. You believe everyone’s an individual, we’re only accountable ourselves and (on occasion) those we love, and you’re a little sad for Shawty Lo’s exes and children because the cancellation of their Oxygen show means a loss of some potential income. You don’t like being critical of other people’s life choices, especially people you don’t know. And what’s so wrong with Red Lobster or TGI Friday’s?! Are you going to the restaurant to spot celebs and be photographed or just to hang with your friends, drink cocktails, and eat on the cheap? (There’s nothing wrong with the former, of course, but you’re happier in the latter’s more relaxed settings.) Beware trying to convince a bourgie friend to abandon her ideals; it makes you just as judgmental as you’re always claiming she is.

  • OH

    UGH, Hate that “word” and the implications behind it. Throws this article in the cyber trash can.

  • LuvIt

    This is such a great quiz! I’m somewhat in between bourgie and bourgie-lite. I went to Spelman so…

  • Jame

    My answers didn’t match up with how I am perceived. Pretty funny.

  • Me

    I got an equal amount of B and C but I’m def more relatable to B!

  • http://mizzdionne.wordpress.com mizzdionne

    I had to laugh as I took the quiz. I knew I was a tab bit bourgie. My answers were mostly Bs. Now I can tell my sister she was right.

  • Chillyroad

    I’m uncomfortable with that word. Growing up I heard it used in the American context but I also heard it used in the Hatian context which wasn’t as benign as it is being depicted here. In Haiti there was an actual bourgeoisie that ruled Haiti for most of its history even after the French disposal. In Haiti there were real social political economic and racial implications to the word. A real life caste system. It didn’t just mean people with money and expensive tastes. It was the descendants of French colonialist many of whom were mulatto.

  • Rue

    Me too sister!

  • Dinosaurs and Spaceships

    OMG I’m so Bourgie! LOL

  • http://gravatar.com/qlittlestar13 The Mighty Quinn

    It’s funny, I got mostly C’s but the examples indicated are the few things I take issue with. The reason this word rubs me the wrong way is that is how I was described, without getting to know me whatsoever, because I spoke proper English and knew about things like sailing or SCUBA. To be Bourgeois is about exclusivity and I am not nor never been about that, plus I always say my people too country for that.

    I have said after being called Bourgie, one too many times. “there is going to be a time when we will be divided between those blacks that have and have not and that know and know not.” This word is the first wedge.

  • http://BeyondBlackWhite.com/ Jamila

    This was such a cute quiz! I was A’s and B’s, but mostly B’s. I’m a little bougie–but I hate rap and have NEVER watched an entire episode of any “reality” where black women act a fool.

  • omfg

    i think this type of thing is emblematic of some of what’s wrong with black american folk.

    the inference drawn here is that the core or constant of blackness is defined as being low class, uneducated and lacking sophistication and worldliness. to deviate from that is to be bourgie.

    this just shows how backwoods a lot of our thinking continues to be.

    this is along the same lines as speaking english means you’re talking white or going to school means you are acting white.

    get a clue. there are black people in this world for whom being educated, sophisticated, etc. is the norm.

    when will this silly, sophomoric way of characterizing black people and blackness end?

    we still have a lot of maturing to do.

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    I got mostly A’s and B’s, and I don’t mind it at all. Sticks and stones…

  • Elaine

    I’m classified by most of my friends as bougie — I use the “bourg” spelling as an abbreviation when I’m talking about Marxism. We all go to an elite university (I mostly hang out at Harvard and Princeton, it’s of that caliber) and I spend my summers in France. If I were one of the sisters on the Fresh Prince, I’d undoubtedly be Hillary they say. I try to protest their view by citing my love of rap — both the socially conscious and the meaningless persuasions — and appreciation of black and African literature, but not many people will listen.

    I prefer the idea of “bougieness” to the idea of “acting white,” since at least being bougie means that a variety of behaviors can exist natively within the black community, but really both ideas have at their base a belief that black culture is poor, uneducated, and “ghetto.” We need to celebrate the cultural and socioeconomic diversity within our community, not disparage either end of it.

  • Dave

    “Bourgie” is an interesting blending of the ideological “bourgeois” and the socio-political “bourgeoisie” with a racial component thrown in that is somewhat reminiscent of “uppity.” Most people use bourgeois to refer capitalism’s middle class and its cult of consumption (whose idols are Starbucks, Gucci, Apple, Prada…to name a few). The funny thing is black folks subvert the meaning (and themselves in the process) by using the term to imply an aspiration for “whiteness” on the part of the perceived offender. If white is “bourgeois,” middle class, and thus entitled to its idols, black is inherently less than white, lower class, and niggas ought to know and stay in their place. In other words, I hate the term.

  • DMVChick

    Mostly Bs describe me to a tee! Can’t believe the super bourgie don’t watch Scandal! *clutches pearls*

  • lauryn

    I am not bourgie. Or maybe I am.

    Hell, I’m me.

  • http://gravatar.com/gennatay gennatay

    I was just thinking the same thing. I’ve been called bourgie or stuck up because of my education, places I eat and my love of wine above tequila or gin. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized these things were OK and that they didnt affect my “blackness”

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Me too.

  • Rochelle

    Well I would never reccommend an HBCU. I would never live in a neighborhood that was more than 20% black. I never want to be a baby mama and detest people that see nothing wrong with being one. I don’t eat pork. I dont watch Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives and the like. Am I bougie? What do I get?

  • Rakel

    This quiz was cute, and told me what I knew. I’m a little bourgie, but I think I’m a nice mix lol. 3a’s 2bs and 2cs. I grew up hearing Oreo, bourgie, uppity, stuck up, etc. But I didn’t mind it, I realized early on that there’s not one “type” of Black.

  • i.mean.really

    +1000!!! Our bodies have been free for a 150 years but our minds have a long way to go.

  • Treece

    Mostly Bs and a few Cs…..I think of myself as a pretty well rounded Black woman. Not bourgie, but I do have class and like nice things. Not a fan of reality tv though–annoying.

  • Nic

    I think that much like class, if you have to take a quiz then you probably aren’t.
    People who are really affluent and used to nice things don’t spend much time thinking about it…

  • Nic

    You’d think that people who spent centuries being oppressed would not be so eager to adopt the traits of oppressors but we se the caste system you describe all over Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. It seems as if once the colonizers left, there were locals who were all too happy to step on the backs of people who looked like them to live the good life.

    But the obsession that Black Americans have with this word is problematic because to me it points to a focus on materialism and the superficial trappings of wealth, but not the substance that allows people to actually accumulate long term wealth and permanently move up the socioeconomic ladder.

    So there are lot of people who think that VIP sections in clubs, overpriced alcohol, designer clothes, and other ridiculous symbols actually prove that they are part of the upper class, when in reality a lot of people who spend their money on those things can barely afford them.

  • Nic

    The other unfortunate thing is that a lot of people are only obsessed with superficial, fake markers of success. So the same people eager to be called this are still not putting their energy into education or trying to expand their minds.

  • steph302

    “…and you’re a little sad for Shawty Lo’s exes and children because the cancellation of their Oxygen show means a loss of some potential income.”

    This made me laugh. I actually had this exact thought. These quizzes usually call me “ghetto”, so thanks for skipping that label. Cute quiz.

  • GlowBelle

    Agree with you 1000%! Even though I know this quiz is just for fun, I have been called or thought of as ‘bougie’ simply by things I like/things I’ve done, and even because of the circles my family operates in…and it irritates me as I’m not defined by those things. I’m tired of the labels, and wish that we all could step out of that limiting ‘box’ that we still try to put ourselves into.

  • Leila

    100% bourgeoise but I knew that already.

  • Ms. Write

    Same here!

  • Ms. Write

    I’m a little bourgie. I’m more of a a brunch gal (love my mimosas!) but not above a trip to T.G.I. Friday’s every now and then.

  • Liz

    I was prepared to tell you to lighten up, but this:

    the inference drawn here is that the core or constant of blackness is defined as being low class, uneducated and lacking sophistication and worldliness. to deviate from that is to be bourgie.

    I appreciated.

    I’d like to add, though, that the C response weren’t tailored to indicate low brow tastes, lack of education/sophistication/worldliness. The C, non-bougie, women are just cool… not concerned with putting on airs, keeping up with the Joneses, just really chill. I’m not really sure if the opposite of bougie is everything you described or if it’s really the “C” answers in the quiz, which really is just a lack of pretension.

    Definitely something to think about.

  • Trisha

    aww..This is a cute article. After my results, I am confused about myself..lol! I received mostly As and Bs when I’m really a laid-back, down-to-earth person. I am a lover of nice things with a strong taste of chaos. I have been often referred to as bougie (don’t like the term) until one gets to know me better.

  • Trisha

    Sorry…Im rushing. Meant bourgie…

  • YeahRight2011

    I’m an elitist. Sorry.

  • Blue

    I thought bougie meant acting like you are too high & mighty, stuck up, snob…Guess if I want something of quality or a better way of life, I’m bougie

  • MimiLuvs

    I grew in believing a different definition of the term “bourgie”. The term “bourgie” was used as a derogatory term for black people, who had a certain mindset. The certain mindset of “white = right”. In other words, whatever a white person says, believes, does or have, then it is a MUST to emulate. For example (and I am using real life scenarios): a mother telling her college-bound son to not accept a full ride scholarship to a HBCU, for the major that he wants, to try to get into an Ivy League college because the school has a lot of smart, white people.
    -A woman patroning establishments that only has non-black people.
    -Purposely living in a predominantly white community, because it lacks a low population of black people.

  • Allie

    I got mostly C’s to each it’s own I guess . . .LOL.

  • Allie

    Right.

  • Tallulah Belle

    I think that you are blurring socio-economic class and educational values with the term “bougie.” Bougie-ness has a shallow materialistic resonance to it. Its white or Asian equivalent — equally so, even a bit provincial. When I was your age, of college age, we used to call Black girls “bougie” and Jewish girls “Jappy” (for Jewish American Princess). Neither characterization is very nice. Both are derogatory references for the most vapid qualities afforded people with wealth (or self-perceived wealth). Bougie suggests a dillyness or effete nature. Not good. If you are truly honest with yourself and adhere to the historical characterization afforded the term “bougie,” you must concede it is actually quite ugly. It is hardly a compliment.

  • http://elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com Elegance

    I had 4 As and 3 Cs. That’s because I have high standards for education and conduct but I am also frugal and practical. I believe in spending money on important things like education, housing, and investments not on designer clothes or expensive restaurants. I value education and intellectual pursuits and think respectability politics is very important.

    Get the education, I don’t care what school you go to. Make sure you can afford your lifestyle, I don’t care if you get all your clothes second hand and pinch every penny. Speak proper English and look like you have some sense and like you aren’t a criminal. So I’m sort of bougie but practical and frugal at the same time. Maybe that just makes me middle class?

  • http://www.labelwhorre.com labelwhorre.com

    sweetie your not bougie….you simple don’t like your race…thats what it is. plain and simple..

  • JustMe?

    I’m working on the supporting the black establishments more. It’s the service (for some) that turns me off. I’m not saying white people are better. But when it comes to my business affairs, they must be conducted within a very professional manner. That’s all.

    I lived in a black predominately neighborhood as well as white. To be honest, I prefer living in a white neighborhood. Neither shouldn’t be considered as bougie…I just want my money’s worth.

  • Joy

    Nic: Love your lst paragraph. Another example is people riding around in a Benz in the hood. Doesn’t impress me at all. If they (reall)y had some money they wouldn’t still be riding around in the hood. All it mostly proves is that you were stupid enough to spend lots of money on a car that in reality you can’t afford.

  • Joy

    Nic I meant love your last paragraph.

  • http://myunspokenthought.tumblr.com/ AOA

    Now that I’m a poor grad student 2yrs in, I had mostly C’s. Not surprised though, I may be broke most of the time but I’ve discovered you can have fun in really cheap ways. Myself 2 yrs prior I know I would be mostly A/B’s. Fun article… now back to studying.

  • Rochelle

    Because I don’t like those things I don’t like being black? Ok. You sound like a dumbass bird.

  • b

    It was a tie between A and C for me so I guess that means I’m diverse (Don’t kill my dream, yall!) lol

  • http://twitter.com/JNez JNez (@JNez)

    I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially the way you interpreted the results. Well done!

  • dee

    This is cute. An ex-friend once accused me of being bourgie because I would’nt come to court and lie for her. “Bourgie Negros” were her words exactly. I asked her did she know where I could buy the T-shirt..

  • http://twitter.com/reeceecup reeceecup™ (@reeceecup)

    I got mixed a’s and b’s

  • Dean

    I got 3 A’s 1 B and 3 C’s. I think Im only bougie by circumstance. I do want to go to brunch and I don’t ever wanna see django. But I think Bill Cosby is over-simplifying blk problems and that my cousin should go to the school wit the best program for their major and the most affordable. But don’t talk to me about shorty lo. Get over it.

  • come one people.

    same here. I hate TGI Fridays. Ugh. and I am glad shorty low did not get any air time. (not into the petition thing though)

  • http://www.facebook.com/karriem.lateef Karriem O. Lateef

    Most people I know…use the term “bougie”…no R…and very very few who could get into an Ivy League school would ever consider a Big Ten school. They aren’t in any way comparable….not from the standpoint of grades, academic reputation, or really…anything. This quiz is absurd.

  • ariella

    Not eating pork makes you bougie?

  • ariella

    I love tapas, but I would never go to a tapas bar that didn’t have authentic Spanish music, and preferably live flamenco – so I’m also a food and music snob.

  • mick

    how do you spell boughie. in all my years i’ve never seen the word with an “r” what is up with you young people spelling and grammar?

  • Debbie

    The questions were somewhat “nonsensical ” in determining one’s level of “bougie-osity” (made up, just for this response. The differences in the choices were too closely blended for stark comparisons. I agree with the post regarding Big 10/Ivy League .. Big 10 – public school duh. Elite HBCUs (at least that was correct) would fall more in line w/ Ivy League choice – and more prevalent choice for southerners… I could go on… But as it was a fluff piece for entertainment. It gets a gold star.

  • jack n jill

    Big ten schools such as Michigan, Northwestern and even Wisconsin are great schools so are those in ACC and PAC 10, actually the ACC schools would appear to be more bougie (UVA, Chapel Hill, Duke) way more elitist.

  • isola

    Maybe I am lazy, but I prefer a quiz you can take online and not have to write down the answers. I was mostly c’s.

  • http://cutekinks.blogspot.com CuteKinks

    “Bourgie”, with an ‘r’, is the correct spelling. Fellow commenters correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s a take on the word “bourgeois” which is of French origin and means middle class. I could be wrong, but that has always been my understanding of the word.

  • Debbie

    Regarding the spelling and origin of the word “r” is correct, however sans “r” is also correct when used in the colloquial context as it is here; in which case the “r” should be dropped.

  • Melissa Griffin

    I feel we need to stop putting ourselves into catagories such as these we will never evolve in the way we need too until we do. It’s 2013 this is why I don’t read Ebony Magazine, Essence Magazine. Watch BET Awards, Source Awards, NAACP awards because they have not evolved. EVOLVE…stop catering to the unintelligent & slow… newsflash we are not!!!

  • Just_Joi

    I tied with B’s and C’s with one A. I absolutely miss Bill Cosby from the 70′s. I love my Scandal #gladiators. This was a fun quiz! Great job!
    Follow me on Twitter @love.tweet.joi

  • Dawn

    Actually, it should be “see how you “fare,” not “fair,” and I’m about as non “bougie” as it gets.

  • M3tr0Ch1ck

    Mostly A’s right? (Me 2!) Sadly I agree.No award shows (that includes the AA’s too) or Rachet TV for me. I just cant…

  • Dell

    This article makes no sense and does not show what they are trying to say.Having drive does not equate to going to an Ivy league white school The Black Bourgie would in my mind be more focused on a great HBCU or school that best fits the persons major. There is no point in spending 200k on a degree from an Ivy school to have an average job and a nice Ivy degree in the office. Also, it would not be something superficial or trendy for a Bourgie. Like the vastest hotpot out of an article. That is a place for the masses and celebrates. It would be a place that is tried and true with tradition a local unknown by most steak house for dinner and drinks. Or, a cigar lounge to watch the game but not the hot one the lesser know one where they don’t really allow drinks in the front and only allow alcohol in the back for a few true patrons.

    As far as clothing it wouldn’t be the most expensive popular name that people recognize that is a full flashy outfit. It would be older shorts that are worn a older shirt that is expensive but non intrusive. A Omega watch simple but will be noticed by those who matter and European eye wear that most people wouldn’t even know to look at. It is the simple things not the main stream ones. Bourgie. is an educated successful group of tradition not of popularity.

  • Be

    this article got it all wrong. This is not the definition of Bourgie. i grew up using it as a term to use towards African_american men and women who had to have the most expensive everything regardless of their income. They also dont like to shop at discount stores unless its a name brand outlet mall and they dont eat the store brand food. Bourgie people are seen as people who dont want to connect with their community. On the flip side. I myself have been called bourgie for many reasons and it can also be seen as someone who carries themselves in a classy articulate way. These are the menings I am familiar with but this article is a little off.

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