Friday, July 24, 2009

BougieTales from the Black side

Don't let the bougie fool you. For all of our high-steppin' and high-fallutin' ways, the black and the bougie roll with a BlackPass like all our mocha, caramel and chocolate brethren. Black and Bougie leads with Black. And in case we get too insulated and try to forget our Blackness, there is always someone too happy to remind us. Some BougieTales as example:

  • Breathing While Black – Now I am already WAY over this story but the fact remains that a large portion of the population (myself included) believes that had Skip Gates been white, the officer would have taken his ID, thanked him for his time and left. Dr. Gates is a 5'10" sixty-year old man who walks with a cane, has PhDs, and a house in Martha's Vineyard when he doesn't hang in Harvard Yard. If ever there was a less threatening man of color to be had, this is it. Yet and still, he was perp-walked out of his home, cuffed and processed through the justice system like a common street thug. His mugshot was blasted all over the Main Stream Media and before his statement was released, we were told he was acting in a dangerous, disruptive and disorderly fashion. I call bullshiggity on the whole mess.

  • I'm sorry Doctor – BougieOlderBro is a trauma surgeon in the Southeast. He works at a hospital where there is ONE other surgeon (neuro) of color employed. BougieBro is 6'1", bearded, caramel-colored, in shape with an improbable love of Dockers-style khakis and striped Ralph Lauren button down shirts. The other black surgeon is 6'4", clean-shaven, coffee-colored, overweight and attached to his wrinkled scrubs. Yet and still, at least twice a week someone calls my brother by this other person's name. And then apologizes saying, "I'm sorry, Dr. Bougie; I don't know why I called you that." Aargh! We really don't all look alike people… we really, really don't. And we are not interchangeable. You don't get hot swappable black folk; they don't make us that way.

  • Did he just "shush" me? – On Thursday night's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou brought in Roland Martin and some Republican talking head (hey, I don't have to be fair and balanced and I'm too lazy to look up the guy's name) to discuss this ridiculous Obama birth certificate legitimacy ("birther") issue (whole other topic). In the middle of Roland's rebuttal, Lou Dobbs first scolds Roland (said he was getting "excitable"), proceeds to cut him off twice and then told him to "pipe down." I didn't want to make it a black-white thing except that he never stopped Congressman McWingnut from getting his rant on. Some of my blog cousins were saying Lou did everything but tell the brother, "And while you're quiet, shine my shoes." Ouch.

  • I'm just trying to buy salmon – So, I was at Costco getting my wholesale shop on the other day. I was standing in the seafood section analyzing my salmon and rainbow trout choices. An older Caucasian woman sidles up and reached around me. I decided to assume she didn't see me and murmured, "Oh excuse me," and shifted to the left. She scooted over to reach in front of me again. Picking up a package of catfish, she turned to me and said, "How would you fry this up?"

    I thought, Oh, I gotta be the authority on fried catfish cause I'm black? I again decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and said, "My mother's recipe is to soak it overnight in buttermilk and seasonings. Then you coat with cornmeal and fry."

    She THEN said, "I had a maid who used to make it just like that." The woman was at least seventy; I decided not to take her there but she just compare BougieMom to her maid?

    I replied, "Did she now? How nice." Head down, looking for my salmon.

    She smiled, "Yes and she made the best cornbread and collard greens in the world!" Dammit! I didn't reply or smile or look her way, I tossed some salmon in the cart and rolled out.

Truly, I want to embrace the post-racial of it all. I really want to stop seeing prejudice where I least expect it (or even where I do). But we are just not there yet people.

So for everyone who thinks that living the Bougie Way grants you an exemption from racist nonsense… let this post be a lesson to you. My Aunt Violet once said, "Baby, sometimes all they see is the black."

Any BougieTales from the Black side to share?


J. Douglas said...

I definitely have a BougieTale from the Black side to share. This will be a shortened version from my blog (, that was a shameless plug...But I digress)

I am an Air Force officer stationed in Minot, ND (That's North Dakota...Yes, I know, I know.) To give you an idea about the amount of black officers on this base, I know them all by first name. Anyway, apparently when more than 2 B.Os (black officers) get together, it's a sign of the apocalypse. Not only is it odd, but we are CLEARLY being radical and distancing ourselves from the W.O.s (white officers). But when they get together, it's normal and ok?

What do you think OneChele?

OneChele said...

@J.Douglas, oh I could write a week's worth of posts on this one. Doncha know that's the rule? Where 2 or more are gathered, it's a conspiracy. Where 4 or more are gathered, it's a gang. Over 6 and a race riot is imminent. That's how it was in corporate America, sad the military fares no better. We have a long way to go!

Love your blog by the way!

Teri Kay said...

I'm a middle aged white woman just finding your blog and it is delightful. After reading some of your posts, especially this one - I have to reconsider my views and call myself naive about a lot of things. Had I read these things in a novel or seen them in a movie, I would have thought it was overdone and exaggerated. If you are one blogger saying it, there must be many, many more not blogging but experiencing the same things. That makes me sad. Thanks for opening my eyes

lauren said...

Hm, I dont know if this fits, but its still funny. I was at a work function a few months ago, and while the majority of the women were white, there were three women of the Diaspora. We were laughing and talking about our upbringings...turns out all three of the Diasporan women grew up with nannies and the white women didnt.

Bwahahaha! True story! I dont know if it fit your query, but its funny, huh?


OneChele said...

@Lauren - Love it!

RiPPa said...

If you only knew how I wanted to slap the shit out of Lou Dobbs when I saw that live. This has been a helluva week and ah cyah tek no more.

glamah16 said...

Being black and bougie makes its harder! Even from our own people. I once worked for this store(retail job after college). The manager was Jewish(so she should have known better) .She had hormonal issues with infertitlty treatments which caused her to act weird . Any way you never knew what was going to come out of her mouth. So she finally got preggers and was about to pop. One day she had to nerve to ask me how to fry chicken and would I be her nanny! I kid you not. I had to report her ass.

OneChele said...

@glamah NO!!! Not the fried chicken/nanny double whammy... um, um, um

congress heights said...

@glamah16 she deserved a Sophia (The Color Purple) knockout for that comment.


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