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~

WatchCatting: Paw-Bumps to P&G!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Positive Propaganda:  YES, Our Black IS Beautiful & Our Money is Long!

Well hello, Sisters (and sis-supporters)!

Have you heard (or seen)? 

Amid all of the whack and inaccurate portrayals of us in commercial advertising (neck rolling grannies, no-money having sistahs, rapping fast food eaters, etc, etc, etc), there are a few corporations that care about our needs as black women, and who take pains to ensure we’re accurately represented.  *wee!*

Considering that black buying power is “projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015″ (per The State of the African-American Consumer Report, released in Q4 of 2011), it clearly behooves corporations to pay attention to our needs and portray us more positively and accurately in their advertising.

To that end, we as black-women-consumers need to hiss loudly at those who overstep their advertising boundaries, and promote and uplift those who wish to maintain a positive relationship with us.

And since we love to highlight all-things-good on this site, It’s time to give a paw-bump (that’s a fist-bump, C.A.T. style) to Proctor & Gamble (P&G)!

P&G has been around since 1837, and is currently a billion-dollar brand with ownership of some of our most beloved (and quality) products, such as Tide, Always, Secret, Olay, Crest, Tampax, and CoverGirl (don’t you love those “easy-breezy” adds with Queen Latifah?!).

In taking a quick view of their company’s site, their mission statement includes their committment to diversity, which we at Positive Propaganda LOVE to see:

  • Diversity and Inclusion
    “Diversity of ideas, experiences, race and gender are vital to P&G’s ability to touch and improve the lives of consumers around the world. The practice of inclusion ensures that this diversity isn’t merely represented, but is integral to the way we compete and win every day.”

But most imporantly, P&G walks their talk, and has blown this sister C.A.T. away with the creation of “My Black is Beautiful”, a movement devoted specifically to women of color, and black women, specifically!

While the campaign has been in existence since 2008, we here at the site are just now hearing about it, and want to make sure all of our sisters are in the know so we can actively support brands who support us.

Check out what P&G has to say about this awesome campaign:

“Our extraordinary initiative, My Black Is Beautiful, celebrates the diverse collective beauty of African-American women and nurtures black self-esteem. The movement encourages black women to define and promote our own beauty standard — one that is an authentic reflection of our indomitable spirit.

Recognizing that beauty and self-confidence are intrinsically linked, My Black Is Beautiful Is designed to ignite black pride and to support a sustained national conversation by, for and about black women — the way we are reflected in popular culture and how we serve as the catalyst for a movement that effects positive change.”

Now THAT’S what’s up! 

I knew I loved Olay, Always, Tampax, and CoverGirl for a reason!  LOL! 

Be sure to patronize brands such as those under the P&G umbrella, and become a part of the My Black is Beautiful movement:  http://www.myblackisbeautiful.com

And also, feel free to share with the C.A.T.S. community and sisters everywhere the names and brands of advertisers and corporations that are getting it right! 

Money talks, so let’s love those who love us.

Happy shopping, and meow,

PositiveProp~

Black Love: Struggling, But ALIVE!

Positive Propaganda:  Black Women Are LOVED

Don’t let the media fool you…black women are, and can be, truly loved.  Black love DOES EXIST.  Do we have work to do as a people to reclaim purity, safety, and holistic health in our romantic relationships?  Yes.  Do we see examples of black relationships that are anything but gentle and loving, both in our communities and on our television screens?  Unfortunately, yes.  But black love is not, I repeat, NOT a striped unicorn of a scenario; IT EXISTS!

The picture of Barack and Michelle above touched me beyond measure when it found me (yes, it found me) today. ;-)    The image speaks profoundly to our current state of affairs as black people, and what we need to see more often in our relationships.  The desolate, semi-dilapidated background is likened to the hostile, chaotic, and cold world we as black women sometimes inhabit. The colors, stark, bleak, black and white with hints of gray, are strikingly similar to our wounded feminine souls that we must work to heal on a daily basis.  Yet, in the midst of chaos and darkness stand two united as one; he with a furrowed brow and protective embrace, pondering how to plot a course of safety, comfort, and success for his loved one and their union.  She with a contented, confident smile of one who knows she’s in good, safe, capable hands – no worry in her world – her man’s ‘got this.’  THAT’S black love at its finest.

Some say, “yeah, but that’s only one couple out of millions, and a famous couple at that – they’re different…better…practically nonexistent where I come from.”  Yes, this is true, but again, IT EXISTS.  Like a tiny plant on a lonely planet, if one exists, so can others.  They simply need to be developed, fed, and nurtured. 

I know I’m not alone in being aware of at least one black couple who are MONAGAMOUS (don’t let the lies fool you; monogamy in black marriage also exists, and is possible), loving, successful (or striving toward success) and united in spirit and in deed.  Black love is what saved us as a people in the days of slavery and during the Jim Crow era of segregation, as we sought to define ourselves in this new country and create havens of safety for ourselves and our offspring.  It existed once, and can continue to thrive – if we let it – if we demand it, and do not settle for anything less.

What’s happened in the last twenty to thirty years that now sees our men degrading black women in the media, in song, and through action?  When did ‘women of the night’ and strippers (the dancing wounded) become the image of black women hailed by our men who were sent here by God to love, keep, and protect us?  And why are we letting this happen?!  Are we not demanding more from our men?  When did simply having a child from a black man, but not feeling worthy of or insisting on his fidelity, commitment, protection, and unconditional love become the norm – the creation of the ill-fated and disrespected “baby mama”? We deserve more.  Black love demands more.

As many of you know, a lot of media attention was recently paid to our young black stars Rhianna and Chris Brown as they reunited in song after having engaged in a toxic, destructive, abusive relationship.  Reactions were mixed, with some feeling betrayed by Rhianna for returning to her abuser, and others cheering for a full reconciliation, pledging their hope for the success of “black love.”   I’m here to tell you today, sisters, that what those two poor souls are engaged in IS NOT LOVE, and is certainly not indicative of black love.  What that is is a dance of co-dependancy and addiction, fueled by substance abuse and the deadly pull of what’s termed “negative love” or trauma bonding (if you’re not familiar with the term “trauma bonding”, look it up when you get a chance; very insightful).  Two young kids, both from violent homes, who are unconsciously repeating the pattern they grew up witnessing:  daddy hits, mama stays, men abuse, women take it.  Again, that is NOT love, and we need to educate our people, especially our young girls (our kittens, if you will) to recognize and know the difference.

Also, today’s “urban” media isn’t doing much to help the case and cause for black love.  I’ve noticed the rising popularity of songs that depict violence against women, especially by our young rap & hip-hop stars.  A new song by “artist” (quotes purposefully inserted) Bei Meijor (with rapper J. Cole)  titled “Trouble” struck me the most.  Currently in heavy rotation on urban radio stations, the lead singer croons various directives and orders to his girlfriend (“I told you not to”), and then describes the resulting negative consequences for her disobedience (“It’s gon’ get you in trouble”). This song exemplifies the common, current mindset of our young black men in reference to how romantic relationships should be conducted, and it’s both shocking and startling.  View a sample of the lyrics below:

Yeah, invitations in the whirlwind
We both bad at it
Told myself no more hittin’ n-ggas girlfriends
Thats my old bad habit
Here you go, round that
Already know, what I’m staring at
I mean from top to bottom your body is problem so
Somebody better take care of that
And who
Better than, the n-gga let ‘em in
When your man aint home, you can let him in
Late night Letterman
I aint gon tat-a-tale
Damn your ass bad as hell
 
WHAT IS THIS?!  This is NOT BLACK LOVE!  This is abuse, misogyny and control, anything but love of the fairer sex.  And this, my sisters, is what our young black men are being taught in terms of how we should be treated.  And some of us are humming their tune, singing along, buying the albums, and “co-signing” on the toxic dogma.  It has to stop.

 

The responsibility to define, revive, and save black love is ours.  We can’t blame our men if we accept this type of treatment.  We must teach our young black girls (kittens) that this is not love; we must educate them on what real love is!  We must love and respect ourselves enough to know that we deserve emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health and safety in our relationships.  And if we do not know what that means or looks like, then those of us who do, or who have seen REAL black love in action, MUST EDUCATE our sisters and our community on its existence. 

I didn’t grow up in a Cliff and Clair Huxtable world, but it was close enough.  It was close enough to know that my generation could achieve what the Huxtables represented, and perfect what my parents and ancestors began, through personal will, faith, and help from God.  And this, ladies, is our task – our charge.  We must become aware and educate, both each other, our men, and our entire community, on the reality and NEED for true black love in our lives. 

Our survival depends on it.

So, let me end this post with a few descriptions of what black love really is, and how to recognize it in action:

In black love, a man takes charge, follows through, and protects, provides, and presents for his woman.  He respects you, your family, your thoughts, and your opinions.  He is a man of his word, and is both honest and communicative.  He is chivalry in action:  he opens doors for you with a smile, pulls out your chair, walks on the outside of the curb, and holds doors open for you as you enter and exit.  He uses soft tones, NEVER YELLS OR CURSES AT YOU (even when angry) and does not touch you aggressively.  He make plans with you and asks your opinion – does not assume or control you nor situations you are in; you are a team.  He believes in God, or a power greater than himself.  He is humble and fun-loving, and smiles more than he frowns.  He knows how to control his emotions.  He is faithful and monogamous.  He is your biggest cheerleader, and is ALWAYS on your side.  He is your best friend.  And, more than anything, he makes you feel warm, safe, and comfortable:  where there is fear, there is no love; remember that.

There is so much more to say about black love, and about black women in love, but let’s begin here.  The qualities listed above may seem far fetched to some, and a fairy tale to others, but know that these are the base qualities that must be present in order to develop a strong, loving, secure relationship, and are not too much to ask.  We can do this; let’s demand it.   And remember, in millions of homes as we speak, it already exits.

With love,

PositiveProp~

*meow*