What I learned From White Girls: Black Women on the “Bougie”/”Ratchet” Continuum

In the video I posted about a year ago and in the blog post http://verysmartbrothas.com/shit-bougie-black-girls-say/ this idea that middle class black women feel the need to distinguish themselves from other black women who are ghetto or “ratchet” is made plain. The very smart brothers joke that the way you know that someone is definitely not “ratchet” is that they insist that they are “ratchet.” This suggests that anytime someone knows that a performance is occurring around race, it automatically renders that representation suspect. Issa Rae in her Awkward Black Girl and her Ratchetpiece Theatre explores the notion of black performance of gendered and raced stereotypes comedically. Rae suggests in her collapse of high and low art that perhaps the line between”bougieness” and “ratchetness” is so thin as to not exist. It is easy in this way to challenge what makes some black women “ghetto” or “ratchet” and what makes others “bougie” or firmly placed in the middle class. However, the idea that there is such a polarity, any sort of binary, is a fiction. In fact, more telling is why we consider “bougieness” an insult in the first place.


Telling Our Stories Digitally

Storify has been an interesting medium to play with in terms of trying to archive my scholarship. What I like about it is that more than just being simply a way of posting things to the web, Storify becomes a way of aggregating the ideas that you might have already been gathering on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or by taking pictures with your phone. Pinterest is similar, in terms of allowing you to create a visual pin board to gather your ideas all in one place, but Storify and its ability to help string a narrative out of what you are doing is really a step above.

I only use the iPad app for Storify and cannot speak of its ease of use on the computer, but the ability to drag and drop video or images and then to type text linking those images, web pages, and tweets mimics the way my mind works. Most of my “stories” I do not publish. I use Storify as a way to organize my work for my own sake–it helps me think as a digital humanist. As I continue thinking about ebooks, blogs, twitter, and the best way to archive and share information, I really am reminded that technology is a tool that is only as good as the story it tells.

You can follow my stories on storify.com/profclaiborne or click on the storify link above to see the story I wrote on HBCUs and the digital humanities.


Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell

As much as I am anticipating the almost season finale of Scandal tonight, I am equally happy to see the return of Totally Biased on FX tonight. There is something nerdishly fun about this show and tonight’s guest is Melissa Harris Perry. She is my role model for how to take this professor thing and let it ride!

A video by the Very Smart Brothers about what distinguishes bougie black girls from other black women.

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