“That’s so bourg,” said one of the Saul Alinsky community organizers I was working with forty-five years ago in Massachusetts. Though I didn’t know what "bourg" meant, I got that it was a pejorative. “Bourg” meant “bad.” Only later did I ask the full meaning. It was short for “bourgeois,” she said, as if that explained everything. I still didn’t understand but the word sounded familiar and I knew its spelling so I looked it up. Bourgeois meant “middle class,” but I was still perplexed. I saw myself as middle class and still do. What was so bad about middle class?
Amy Wax University of Pennsylvania Law School
Well, just about everything, I guess. At the ultra-progressive, ivy-league University of Pennsylvania, a law professor named Amy Wax is being vilified as “racist” and “bigoted” by students, faculty, and alumni for daring to write that bourgeois values exemplified in 1950s America are superior to those prized in today’s progressive America. She asserted in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed that in the 1950s people believed you should:
“Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.”
The last straw came when Wax dared criticize mores in sacrosanct sub-cultures:
“the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks; [and] the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants.” Wax asserted those were, “destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans.”
UPenn took all that as a declaration of war and several scorching columns appeared in UPenn’s daily newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. One, signed by fifty-four faculty and doctoral students declared that Wax’s bourgeois culture:
“stem[s] from the very same malignant logic of hetero-patriarchal, class-based, white supremacy that plagues our country today,” and “These cultural values and logics are steeped in anti-blackness and white hetero-patriarchal respectability, i.e. two-hetero-parent homes, divorce is a vice, and the denouncement of all groups perceived as not acting white enough i.e. black Americans, Latino communities, and immigrants in particular.”
The rest is here.