Friday, August 20, 2010

Words I'm Over

I'm liberal, so by default, I don't support censorship. If Weezy wants to make over a dozen references to feces in his body of music... and you all want to dance to it, be my guest. See - Weezy References to Poop

Despite my tree-hugging tendencies however, I believe there are a few words/phrases, we really need to just let go, for the betterment of America, and maybe even Haiti. (Texting a link to this blog to Yele Haiti will
not provide clean water for Haitians, but... it's worth a try.)

*Disclaimer: I have used some of the words below, and while I would like to say that I won't anymore, I can't make any guarantees. I'm a work in progress... 


Swag (and it's spin-offs): Just like all the rest of you, I enjoy caressing my hair and moving in sync with the rest of the mid-twenties urban professional crowd when Pretty Boy Swag comes on. My eyes also light up at the opportunity to swag-surf. But at some point, we've got to stop. There has to be another way to describe the way a man walks across the room with a limp (his smooth gait?!). Little known fact: There is no correlation between the ability to swag surf and the ability to surf on water.

Mother-fuck: Look at the word. Now is that REALLY what you mean when you say that? The other day, while walking through one of the few portions of DC unaffected by gentrification, I overheard a teenaged woman tell her 3-4 year old son, "Stop all that motherfucking crying!" I'll ignore the fact that it's normal for a 3 year old to cry when he has just been mollywopped by the back of an adult hand. Without getting too India.Arie.SpokenWord.Love.Jones.natural.hair on you, I'd like you to consider the subconscious effect of jumbling the words "mother" and "fuck" around together. Unless you're talking to Delonte West, it's probably inappropriate.

Crackhead:
About 10 years ago, I was joking with my coworker, and I said, "What are you, a crackhead?" I don't know what she did that made me say that, but her face fell, and she ran into the bathroom and cried for at least 45 minutes. Turns out... she used to be an abuser of cocaine. Whoops.

If you watch The Wire, you're familiar with "Bubs", the drug user and also informant to the police. Throughout the seasons, you watch him grow from a fiend to a successful addition to Baltimore's society. (This was a random aside and reference to The Wire that was neither necessary nor exciting, but... I do that sometimes.)

We all probably know someone who uses cocaine. Whether it's the guy that washes your car, or the aunt that steals your license plate and any loose change... in your pocket... you know it's not a fun problem. It's easy to laugh at Tyrone Biggums and enjoy the comedy that drug abusers bring to our lives, but calling them a crackhead is a bit... objectifying, and similarly to "mother-fuck", minimizes the gravity of the situation. Sure, yelling out, "Look at that abuser of amphetamines!" doesn't roll off the tongue. But is it really suppose to be convenient for us to call people names?

Bitch: I know, I know, you're saying, "Sometimes, someone really is being a bitch!" Well, by the time we reach jr. high, we've eagerly looked up the word in a dictionary and learned that it actually means female dog. And some people do look like feminine Rotweilers. But the ban is for the indiscriminate use of the word "bitch" for "women I don't know individual names for". For example:
Man 1: Yeah, I was at The Park last night... so many fine bitches in there. You shoulda came!
Man 2: For real? I knew me and my dogs shoulda went through. We ended up staying at the crib playing Madden all night though. (No homo) I tried to get them to come out (no homo again, my bad), but Evan was being a
bitch about losing 3 times, so they kept going at it. (No homo my nig).
..... Sigh. Until Webster and the American Kennel Club decide to let humans have bitch, and give dogs something else, it's out of pocket. Just because Too Short said it's his favorite word, doesn't mean it has to be yours!

Females and Males: I don't know if it's a recent phenomena, but I've noticed that when referring to men and women, people often say "females and males." Most major animal species have a name for their female version and a name for their male version. (For a complete list, see here: Female and Male Animals)

Even if someone isn't a
lady, she's still a woman. Not a Phenomenal Woman, a great poem by Maya Angelou, but still a woman. And whether or not he pays his child support on time, he's still a man. Not a responsible one, but still a man. Maybe if you called him a man, instead of "nigga", "motherfucking loser", "little boy", or "these trifling males", he might get the inclination that he should act like one.

Drizzy: This is as a personal favor. I don't like that Drake's nickname is so close to sounding like a synonym for Reading-a-Good-Book-Weather.

Any other words you can think of? By the way, I've left off quite a few because I'm saving the biggies for another post. I'm ignoring the big N-word elephant in the room.

8 comments:

  1. i lean more towards being considerate of your company with your choice of words than any sort of ban. Language reveals so much about a person, whether they're saying the words or hearing them. What may be endearing to one is insulting to another. So it makes more practical sense to exercise more thoughtfulness than attempt a ban like Prohibition. Just speak, responsibly.

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  2. @Deandre - I agree, ban is a bit harsh. I proposed banning them, when really I just wanted to call attention to their overuse and/or misuse. Well, except Drizzy. That one really should be banned.

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  3. I agree with everything but swag. Your argument for the banning of this term was not nearly as strong as it needed to be. Therefore, I propose we keep this term around an extra 15 minutes until someone can TRULY tell me why I can't bring my imaginary surfboard in the club.

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  4. @ljaymd25: You're right. How about this: Swag was a word invented by Shakespeare. Shakespeare never cast any black people in his shows. So he was a racist. You don't want to support a racist person's invention do you?!!? Also... I said please.

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  5. "pause" should be banned too. I'm tired of this type of dialogue:

    Man 1: See the game last night? Kobe Bryant looked good in the finals.

    Man 2: Pause dude! you said Kobe looked good last night.

    Man 1: You know what I meant you homophobe!

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  6. Can you add the words retarded, gay (out of context), moist (mostly just because I think the word moist is disgusting), and the word "at" at the end of a sentence (it's a preposition and totally unnecessary!). This makes me miss your LA social commentaries.

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  7. And please add panties and tits/titties. I hate those words. Please, and thank you! :)

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  8. referring to women by their body parts: "boobs", "azz"

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