The Black History Of Being ‘Bad and Bougie’

Edward Franklin Frazier sitting down
Via Flickr
Adé Hennis
April 2, 2024

“Bougie” is a term that’s used frequently to describe a fancy lifestyle, but one sociologist thought that it was just a facade.

Edward Franklin Frazier published his book “Black Bourgeoisie” in 1957, where he describes a class of Black Americans who acquire a formidable amount of money and social status by assimilating into white social structures. But does that make being Black & Bougie a bad thing?

“All the pretended economic gains which Negroes were supposed to have made had not changed fundamentally [to] their relative economic position in American life.” Frazier did not hold back on his opinions of the Black & Bougie. While his words are still relevant today, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t have nice things.

The Black bourgeoisie consisted of middle-class professionals such as doctors, teachers, lawyers, and engineers. And while they should get to enjoy the fruits of their labor, they should also not think that they’re “above” people who earn less than they do.

Black & Bougie may be a fun term now, but we should never forget that we’ll never be viewed as equal in a white-dominated society. Being free to exist as we are without being mistreated and uplifting each other is the good life. Whiteness does not get to define who we are and how we treat each other.

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