I keep finding myself in conversations with people who whip out the word ‘bourgeois’. Some are loud and proud about it. Others mention the word in hushed tones, serving it up like they would a sly wink. Regardless of the approach, I wince.
The ‘poor African’ stereotype is a particularly strong one. Those who do not fit within it become deeply sensitive to it. You do everything you can to defy, avoid, subvert or destroy it. It’s not that non-poor Africans are arrogant or in denial. It’s that there is more than one African. You can’t herd everyone under one label, and where existing labels do not fit, people will find or create new ones.
At times, however, the new labels we find and create push so far in the opposite direction that they lose touch with reality. The label ‘bourgeois’ is – to me – one such step too…
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