Blame it on the Bougie


The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races. – W.E.B. DuBois, The Talented Tenth

There is much to be said about elitism, class differences, amongst Black people, particularly those who have said “we are not a monolithic people.”

Martin Luther King III, eldest son of the late Martin Luther King Jr., said so very recently when he stated on MSNBC that “Black people should engage with the Tea Party,” paraphrased. He didn’t say we should join the GOP’s racist faction, now called the “Tea Party,” -he didn’t join it himself- but that we should engage with them because he knows that his own father didn’t run from people with opposing views. He took the time out to listen to them and bring them into the conversation.

People who will not take the time to listen to that ‘radar blip’ interview, or who didn’t hear the whole thing, will be misled by the headline, written by other news organizations in order to “engage” ratings. But when you turn it on, and tune in, it’s hard to disagree with his reasoning for why Black people should engage with the Tea Party, at the risk of actually being ‘head-blinged’ by anything they say.

That said, the headline alone conjures up some very dangerous ideologies about the intra-racial divide between Black people, who tend to think that any Black person who engages with the Republican Party, let alone the Tea Party, has lost his or her mind.

As a matter of reference, it’s kind of thought-provoking to have to acknowledge that it took a Black man getting himself (with help of course) elected President of the United States before “those” Black folks found out, the hard way, that they are suddenly monolithic as hell when it comes to the powers that be.

Degree or no degree, title or no title, perfected white family upscale life, or deep down in the ‘hood, money or no money…Black people become gosh-awfully monolithic when it comes to the controlling Party in Congress and the ruling white powers of every state in the nation.

That old “joke” that we used to tell in the Black community … “What do you call Black doctor?” “What do you call a Black lawyer?” “What do you call a Black president?”- and the answer to all of those questions was “A nigger,” has come to pass. In short order. When it comes to power and control, all Black folks are monolithically Niggers all over the nation, and especially in Washington, DC.

Phillip & Sharon meets Pookie & Shanaynay in the strangest ways when intelligent Blacks who thought they were special and different and ‘above it all’ become monolithic in the hands of the white privileged ‘other.’

And here is the noise that will hurt the ears of the W.E.B. DuBois ‘Talented Tenth’ the most … their finances also become monolithically intertwined with that of Pookie & Shanaynay, which leads to the non-monolithic Black folks being consistently pitched at nearly 35% unemployment rates every time there is an economic downturn.

Mr & Mrs Such-a-Much and Dr. So’n’So, MD – PhD, as well as Master Title and Ms Degree find themselves in a quandary that they didn’t want to be in.


When the actual truth about Black elitism comes into sharp focus in America, the titled-and-degreed Phillip & Sharon end up looking back and remembering that, without a stroke of luck, a wing-and-a-prayer, and some high-falutin’ chess moves, they would be right where Pookie & Shanaynay will likely have to remain for the rest of their lives.

And the news that becomes the real cream cheese frosting on the red velvet cake?

Pookie & Shanaynay don’t lose their inherited god-given instincts to mate-up and become parents just because they are too Black and too poor and too nappy-headed and “can’t speak well enough” for the status quo. Maybe Pookie & Shanaynay kept their ears close to the ground and aren’t half as ignorant as some folks want to believe they are. At least they knew that, somehow, Top Class Upscale Bleach’n’Weave were coming back to their roots–one way or the other.

Blame it on the Bougie: Because the very ‘hood that they run from is filled to the brim with the same types of folks who raised their grandparents, and great-grandparents and even their great-great-grandparents going all the way back to the start.

The ‘missing link’ {front-stoop-rocking-chair ride back to the ‘hood, or the ghetto} will always be there for Phillip & Sharon, because no matter how far they run, they cannot hide.


Gullah-Geechie Nation & Its Council of Elders: Get Some Black Pride. [“Those” People raised your ancestors.]

Bill Cosby & Alvin Poussaint: Come On People

Joan Gosier: Cotton-Pickin Paycheck

W.E.B. DuBois: The Talented Tenth (Yale excerpts)

Harold Cruse: The Crises of the Negro Intellectual

BOONDOCKS: The Best of Uncle Ruckus (video)

Clarence “Uncle Tom-ish” Thomas (UI)

We’re All Rachel Jeantel (UI)

Herman Cain: Shocked Token Black Man Extraordinaire

The mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.” — Often falsely attributed to Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, this was actually written for the June 1932 issue of The Birth Control Review by W.E.B. DuBois, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and inventor of philosophy of the exceptional ‘The Talented Tenth’. (as opposed to the optional Untalented 90th).


PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.

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