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.
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.