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Growing Up Bougie: Tales From The Not So Hood

Bougie and proud

Bougie and proud

Growing up sheltered and Black isn’t easy.  If you aren’t being compared to Oreo cookies or busy being someone’s “Black friend,” you’re taking music/dance/drama/that’s going to look great on your college application lessons. There are summer academies to attend, foreign languages to learn, and service projects to participate in. If all the hard work doesn’t seem appealing to you, there are social organizations to join, teas to plan, and tables that need setting. Life is far from The Cosby Show, not that your older sibling hasn’t tried to make you a knockoff of a designer shirt or that you didn’t get drunk playing drinking games at a sleepover, your parents bust their butts at work and then drag you along to fraternity/sorority/work conventions where you meet people you’d rather not hang out with but are forced to because they like you are stuck at a convention center instead of the beach. You know from experience that life is nothing like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because if you had a slick talking cousin from Philly who needed a place to stay, your parents would not practically adopt him and let him live in the pool house while he went to a second rate university without talking some kind of trash about your aunt. So, as a BAP in training who can you look to for when trying to find yourself in the TV set? Nobody, your mother taught you to look up to Mary McLeod Bethune, Coretta Scott King, and Lena Horne not Denise Huxtable-although she was insanely stylish. The whole point of being Black and middle class is that you read books and study to get in to Howard not watch TV. There is no scholarship for TV watching, you need to be worrying about those thank you cards you didn’t send out to all your relatives you sent you gifts not trying to compare your life to Hilary Banks.

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