Death to “Bourgie”~

                                                                                                                                                  

Positive Propaganda:  Black Women & Girls Unashamedly Aspire to be the BEST!

“She’s so bourgie!”  Who she think she is, with her bourgie self!”  Walkin’ around here actin’ all bourgie!”

We’ve heard all of these sayings before; comments thrown in the faces and behind the backs of black women and girls on a routine and regular basis.  And these comments are anything but nice, when said.  From the tone and the sound of the person hurling the word, one would think the target was a horrible, wretched person.  A fake.  A fraud.  A thief, perhaps, or someone to avoid at all costs.  Witnessing this verbal assault, one would certainly not wish to ever be (shudder)  “bourgie”. 

So, what exactly does it mean?

In the black community, and according to the urban dictionary (yes, there is such a thing…smh…) to be bourgie means “to be pretentious in matters of taste or dismissive of other tastes, in a manner that follows a particular middle class mode of thinking. Generally derogatory.” 

Another, slightly less disparaging definition of “bourgie” is “aspiring to be a higher class than one is. Derived from bourgeois – meaning middle/upper class.”

Ahh…we see.  But, some would say…that’s not so bad?  What’s wrong with wanting to launch oneself to a higher station in life than one was born, or in which one finds oneself?  What’s wrong with reaching for success?  What’s wrong with being the best…with aspiring toward greatness?

And to that, my dear sisters, we say NOTHING.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with these desires…as a matter of fact everything is RIGHT with wanting more, better, best, and all of the greatness that life can offer.

Which is why we believe it’s time to pledge DEATH to “bourgie.”

Dear sisters, we’ve been so historically, horrifically mistreated and misinformed.  From the times of slavery, we’ve been trained to not want nice things; to not embrace our femininity.  To not educate ourselves or our families.  To not believe we were soft, and beautiful, tender and deserving. 

It harkens to stories from the plantation where black women, our sisters of yon, were forced to wrap their heads in tattered rags to keep themselves from looking and feeling beautiful.  When the ears of our sisters were cut off and our bodies mutilated and mistreated for transgressions of wanting freedom and liberty.  When all manner of verbal abuse was spewed our way when, even after these atrocities, we dared to hold our heads high, our shoulders back, and walk with pride:  “That haughty niggra” they’d hiss; “Somebody needs to put that gal in her place!” 

Now, fast forward to present day.  Not much has changed, except now we’ve taken the role as our own slave-masters…keeping our own people down and “in our place” whenever we, especially black women, aim to reach higher and achieve better.  And we’ve made it even easier, by taking all of the hatred, jealousy, callousness, and evil of our oppressors and shortening it into one negative word:

Bourgie.

“Always walking with her nose in the air…ole bougie chick.”  “She think she cute…bourgie broad!”  “I can’t stand her bourgie a*s.”

The hate.  The misappropriated anger.  All hurled at black women and girls who’ve dared to step outside and beyond the small box of shame and low-self worth that we’ve been conditioned to believe, and have decided to reach for something higher and better.  To be somebody.

What’s wrong with wearing nice clothes, or fixing your hair in a lovely style, or adorning yourself in lovely jewels?  Nothing.  What’s wrong with wanting a good education, reading books, learning from life and others, and soaking up all that life has to offer?  Nothing.  Where is the harm in craving fresh, healthy food, exercising your body, asking for what you want, need, and deserve?  Not a darn thing!  And where’s the harm in seeking out the best of the best in every way you can, for you, your children, your friends, and the ones you love?  Nothing.  At.  All.

Sisters, this is not “bourgie.”  This is being aspirational. This is taking by the reigns the desires of God for your life, and claiming the gifts he’s placed at your feet.

How are we ever to climb as a people if we’re too afraid to reach for the sky?  What in God’s name is wrong with wanting to look, feel, and BE your very best?  Again, we say nothing.

You know what IS wrong?  Hurling insults hidden in urban slang such as the word “bourgie” to our fellow sisters and young girls every time we witness them striving to be their best.  Our young sisters (our kittens) grow up hearing and feeling the covert negativity that we attach to those climbing and aspiring to be their best, and instead of letting their little lights shine, they dim themselves and bushel their lights out of fear and shame, so as to be accepted by their community.  They don’t want to be “bourgie.”

This is wrong, and it needs to stop.

We are gorgeous, talented, divine, beautiful women of God!  We have so much to offer ourselves, our families, and our communities.  It’s the so-called “bourgie” set that helped Michelle Obama reach the White House, and who suit-up every day to fight the good fight in corporate America to represent OUR needs and well-being, ensuring we have a voice at the tables that run our lives.  And we don’t thank them enough.  We don’t want to be LIKE them enough.  We don’t aspire enough. 

Sisters, we have to watch our tongues and check ourselves when need be.  We have to support each other and our sisters who’re brave enough to plug their ears against those who’d like to keep black women down, and uplift those who strive every day to be their absolute best (in spite of). We have to encourage our young girls to hold their heads up high, to not be afraid to shine, and to be, do, and have all that their little hearts desire.  We have to truly show solidarity and real sisterhood in this way; it’s only then that the oppressive voices from the plantation are silenced, and we all truly rise above the horrors of the past.

So again, sisters, it’s time to kill the negativity toward ourselves and each other.  Let’s uplift each other the best way we can.  If you see a beautiful sister out in the world “doing her thing” and looking fabulous, even if you can’t compliment her, don’t disparage her with the label “bourgie.”  Stay silent, search your own heart and life, and promise yourself to be and do the same.  It’s in you to be great, too!  There’s room for all of us to shine.

And when you shine, we all shine.

Death to bourgie. 

Live an aspirational, inspirational, glamorous, gorgeous, fabulous, healthy life; out loud, and with no shame. 

You deserve it.

With love,

PositiveProp~

Freeing the Scapegoat~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Positive Propaganda:  Black Women & Girls Self-Define

Hello Sisters,

This post is near and dear to my heart, as the subject matter is personal on several levels. 

Have you heard of the term “scapegoat”?  Please allow me to provide a brief overview:

Classically defined, a scapegoat is “a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place”;  and ”one that bears the blame for others; one that is the object of irrational hostility.”  (Merriam-Webster).

In short-story form, in the days of old, villagers would take an innocent goat, parade it through the town, and project all of their sins, mis-deeds, lies, and tawdry secrets upon it. Afterward, they would ceremoniously lead the little goat into the wilderness and kill it, thereby absolving themselves of all things unclean and unlike God; the things they did not want to face about themselves.

This noun becomes a verb in the form of what’s termed “scapegoating”; the act of an individual or group performing the same activities described above to another individual or group, in an effort to absolve themselves of guilt, crime, sin, or wrong-doing; forcing the blame on the innocent.

Scapegoating in society was best summed up by Martiniquan psychiatrist, philosopher, and political activist, Frantz Fanon (1925–1961).  In his 1952 book titled “Black Skins, White Masks” Fanon wrote: 

“Collective guilt is borne by what is conventionally called the scapegoat. Now the scapegoat for white society–which is based on myths of progress, civilization, liberalism, education, enlightenment, refinement–will be precisely the force that opposes the expansion and the triumph of these myths. This brutal opposing force is supplied by the Negro.”

Fanon hit the proverbial nail on the head when he pointed out that black people in America bore the label of scapegoat, and still do to this day.  And as someone near and dear to me pointed out, what does a scapegoat do when mistreated and unfairly labeled?  They fight!  They rebel.  They become angry, and disgruntled…rambunctious and willful, in the attempt to shake off a label they never earned and that fits as comfortably as an itchy wool sweater in the heat of summer.

Does any of this sound familiar, dear sisters? 

It’s my hypothesis that in this day and age of supreme American narcissism, racism, classicism, and sexism, the newest scapegoat is not just black people, but black WOMEN. 

Why?  Because of our perceived vulnerability.  On the outside looking in, we’ve no one to protect us.  Our community appears irreparably divided (like no one “has our back”).  Our men appear to have abandoned us.  We’re an easy target. 

It just makes sense…the myriad articles recently penned by so-called professionals and specialists describing our perceived inferiority, our unattractiveness, castigating us as the “least desirable” of society.  What’s that about?!  And lately, the scapegoating tactics have become more subversive in the attempt to point a judgmental finger at black women, by presenting us in myriad forms of media as materialistic, uneducated, gold-digging, promiscuous savages, too wild and inappropriate to behave, function in, and contribute to society.  It’s not just entertainment, folks – it’s a full blown negative propaganda campaign.

I hear the protests now:  “but, we’re signing up for these shows/music videos/rap songs” you say, and “we do it to ourselves” you cry, and last but not least “but, there ARE some mad, ratchet, crazy, angry black women out there…lots of them!” you concede, and to that, I gently advise you to refer to the story of the scapegoat.  Again, if you’re constantly being told who you are not, what you cannot be, do and have, how you’re the least of a group, and the most unwanted, while knowing in stark contrast that you were born of God just as anyone else, and the only thing that makes you different is the color of your skin and the texture of your hair, WOULDN’T YOU FIGHT BACK TOO?

They’re LIES!  Wouldn’t you be angry if you were constantly lied to since birth?  Wouldn’t you be loud when out and about in a vain attempt to prove that you EXIST?  Wouldn’t you make every attempt known to man to make beautiful what you’re told is ugly by adorning yourself in the brightest, flashiest, most visible garb and jewelry available?  If you’re told your hair is the worst ever created, wouldn’t you buy it, trade it, sew it in, glue it down, fry it up, and slick it back, in an effort to fit in and be loved?  And lastly, if always on the bottom ledge of society, a few thousand dollars to episodically show off and show-out would be welcomed payment for both your pockets and your self esteem.

Yep, scapegoating, indeed (with a splash of exploitation). 

Now, since, per usual, we here at the site do not dwell on problems, but reveal them only to locate and provide solutions, we believe we’ve identified the way to stop this madness and redefine our roles in society, and in our own communities.

It’s time to free the scapegoat!

And how, you ask? 

We free the scapegoat by defining who we are, and placing value, emphasis, and worth on all of the beautiful, amazing, attributes we’ve been blessed to embody.  And we don’t just think it…we KNOW it, live it, walk it, talk it, and thrive as a result of our new perception of self.  We gently hammer it into our souls so deeply that nothing said or done by “them” can shake it.  We free the scapegoat.

Sisters, we have to define and re-define ourselves, for ourselves.  We cannot listen to the voices and projections of others to create our identity.  We cannot own what we’ve been told about ourselves if it’s anything less then positive and affirming, and we cannot live our lives reacting against lies.  Living in that fashion keeps us both trapped and enslaved by the thoughts and projections of others, and that is NOT the destiny prescribed by us by our creator.

We could fill this page and a thousand others with all of the amazing attributes that black women and girls possess (and we almost did, in the previous post titled “Who We Are” – check it out!), but the whole truth is that you, as an individual, must define yourself, for yourself.  YOU must take a powerful, silent inventory of all of the great things that make you, you, and firmly own all of the glorious attributes that you know, deep in your soul, God blessed you to be, do, and have.

And then you have to LIVE them, whether in cooperation with, or in contrast to, what and who surrounds you on a daily basis.  Let this quote guide you on your new journey of freedom and self-definition:

“Be committed to creating a soul-connected reality, building a new sense of self, connected to your inner core.”

Simply BE who you SAY you are!  Be tenacious.  Be unshakable.  Be demure, and graceful.  Be purposeful and loving, graceful and glamorous.  Be bold and self-assured.  Be confident and vocal. If you’re a star, BE a star!  If you’re fabulous, there’s no need to shout it to the rooftops and hammer it into the heads of others…”they” don’t matter.  Simply BE it.  You are all that you want to be, and all that God placed you here to be; you just have to reveal it to yourself and own it.  And if it helps to jump-start your self-identification process, start with knowing that in the eyes of your creator, you are simply PERFECT.  :-)

Free the scapegoat today, then after you become free, reach back and help free the minds of our other “trapped” sisters.  It’s our duty. 

I’ll see you in the pasture of self-identification and self-actualization, where the grass is indeed greener.  :-)

Love always,

PositiveProp~

We’re Watching You: Media Advocacy for Black Women

Positive Propaganda:  The World Deserves an Accurate Image of Black Women!

“You can’t be what you can’t see.”  — Marie Wilson, Founding President of The White House Project

Hello sisters,

As we work collectively to heal each other and strengthen the ways in which we show up in the world, beginning by creating a firm foundation of self-respect, self-reverance, and self-love (while providing and accepting authentic, sisterly support), we’ll then need to combat the images projected in today’s media about who we are. 

We can then begin changing yesterday’s perceptions to match today’s reality.

Can you think of a group of people more maligned and misrepresented in the media than black women?  Even black men, while portrayed overwhelmingly as criminals and miscreants, have it better, by and large, in the eyes of the media than black women.  Heck, at least rap stars, while most trash us in song, are loved in popular culture! And let’s not talk about media worship of our black sports figures and other entertainers.  As long as we’re skipping, dancing, crooning, cooning, dunking, oh, and trashing black women, there’s room in the limelight.

Think about how black women are portrayed in today’s rap music (I now have a headache), in the movies (prostitute, anyone?), and on television (fill-in-the-blank_”Wives”).  Even print media has joined the “black women are the devil” band-wagon with recent articles (falsely) claiming our physical inferiority, unattractiveness, and life-long fate of personal abandonment and isolation. 

It’s time to cry “foul”, and not in a few well-written-but-few-read articles on websites preaching to the choir, but OUT LOUD, to the masses.  We need to boycott, and campaign; to put our money where our pride and reputations are, and stop allowing these inaccurate or stereotypical portrayals, vulgar lyrics, and LIES to persist. 

If that means we stop buying certain albums if we hear the words b**tch, ho, tip-drill, jump-off, baby-mama, hooker, tramp, skeezer (I’m sooo old, ha!), or if it involves content that’s obviously, or subversively, misogynistic, then, oh, well, we just have to.  If you’re paying money for and dancing to something you wouldn’t want someone to call you to your face then what are you REALLY saying (to yourself and to others)?  You cannot serve two masters.

And seriously, if I hear one more “brutha” talk about our bodies (via song) in ways that would make a gynecologist blush, someone’s gonna lose a bottom lip! How dare they?  We deserve more.  Better.  RESPECT!

I have a nice, tidy, list of commercial advertisers that need to get a brutal wake up call that we will not stand for being portrayed as angry, ignorant, inferior, attitudinal, or heck, not represented AT ALL (invisible) and expect us to still patronize them by buying their products.  We see you, and we’re prepared to send our message of discontent loud and clear by speaking through our lack of patronage.

 Most importantly, since this is a site dedicated to UPLIFTING black women, we’ll want to give a contented purr and paw-bump (that’s a C.A.T. fist-bump) to those commerical advertisers and media corporations that DO show us in a positive light and who actively give back to our community, both here in America and in our motherland, Africa. 

We’ll shine a light on our media partners, and advocate for more of the same.  :-)

Let’s birth our Media Watchdog (Watch-Cat) group for black women!

I’m thinking our first call to action is a campaign.  A loud, proud, self-defining and societal re-defining campaign stating who we really are.  Again, I cannot do this alone, so feel free to include your suggestions in the comments section, or reach out to me via info@positivepropaganda.com

We, my dear sisters, are about to embark on some some serious public relations.

It’s on.

PositiveProp~

*meow*