Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm somewhat uncomfortable by the appropriation of African-American slang or...


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via Liquor&Spice on 3/21/11


Examples: White self-help/business help types talking about hustlin' like a gangsta', or the use of .GIF memes like U MAD? or dis gon be gud, or things like the Dancing Chicken Guy. Even things like how Obama is supposed to be all cool, yo.

It's not really my place to speak about it, since I'm not African-American, but I feel that there's multiple levels of appropriation here:

  • This idea of a "cool" perpetuated by a very Americanized, MTV-ised, capitalistic rapper culture
  • The struggles of the "ghetto" - poverty/workingclass appropriation, especially when connected to the underworld/underground crime (inc drug dealing, prostitution) - glamourising really difficult and dangerous circumstances [someone help me come up with a less whorephobic way to say this]
  • The idea that AA people can only speak a certain way and it's amusing in certain aspects (but verboten/"stupid" in others) - which also leads to those who speak more conventional English being written off as "Too White" or "Not Black enough"
  • Using class struggle & kyriarchy to perpetuate upper class luxury (lifestyle design, working at home, etc)

Am I off-base? Does my hunch lead anywhere useful?

This confused me so much before I got deep into Tumblr and discovered memes. I'd be reading random comments somewhere and ppl would be all, "U mad bro?" And I was like, why is everyone talking Black all of a sudden? I figured some Black celebrity had recently said the phrase and that's where it was coming from..

Also, anyone else think it's weird that Charlie Sheen used, "Winning"??? Like, Charlie Sheen, I didn't know you were on Negro Twitter!


Things you can do from here:


1 comment:

tk said...

and i'd like to add believing that "black slang" is cool and humorous in particular situations, but then either feeling uncomfortable or hostile towards black people... particularly, poor black people.