Bougie Like Me

A color-struck look at the black upper class

In black slang, being "bougie," derived from bourgeois, means being socially pretentious. It fits Lawrence Otis Graham to a tee. His book, Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class (HarperCollins; 418 pages; $25), is the literary equivalent of the nose job Graham obtained so that he could "further buy into the aesthetic biases [toward light complexions, straight hair and sharp features] that many among the black elite hold so dear." In other words, to brownnose the black blue bloods.

A Harvard-educated lawyer, Graham, 37, gained notoriety seven years ago by working as a busboy at a white country...

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