Friday, September 7, 2007

How To Get Shot

The Smoking Gun published a handbook that was illegally distributed amongst cops in the Houston Independent School District. While passing around a handbook is not fundamentally a problem, it is when that handbook is on how to talk to Black people. That's right, this handbook is about how to talk in ebonics since Black people don't have developed vocabularies.

But, since they are willing to put it out there, I'm willing to examine it. I'm a Black guy. I know what's "cool" on the streets. So, I will take an opportunity to critique it.

I have to throw out the first page because the photo is grainy and hard to decipher. It appears to be a couple of negroes, one of whom is holding a wad of cash and the other is holding a gun, or a gat. Gat's the right term, right? That's what white people think Black people say, don't they? Whatever, I'm Black, I dictate public culture when not being oppressed. So, gat it is.

Page two gives us a worthless list of dictionary definitions of ebonics. I don't need a definition, or, if one is to give a definition, it should be this: ebonics (n): shit white people think black people say. Page three tells me that:

with this guide you too can learn to speak ebonics as if you came out of the hood. [U]se what you learn wisely, because you can find you self with a problem one day and ebonics could save your life.
Before I comment on this proposition, I will note that whoever wrote this didn't do too well in English class. I'm gong to re-write this before I move on.
This guide can teach you how to speak ebonics as if you are from the hood. Memorize this text because knowing ebonics could save your life one day
There we go, just as offensive, but much better written. Now, is this guy fucking serious? There is not a Black person on the face of the planet who actually speaks in ebonics. So, white person, if you decide to speak ebonics, you will be shot faster than if you spoke in plain english, especially if you do it the way that is suggested in the handbook.

This idea takes me to the fourth, fifth, and sixth pages of the handbook where the actual vocabulary breaks out. On page four, if you say what up foo to a Black person, you will get bucked on. On page five, Cristal is champagne, not wine. They clearly have never touched a bottle of the stuff before. Also, on page five, the writer shows their weak grasp of English by using both nouns and adjectives, adjectives for actions. An example of this is 5-0, a term meant as a noun for cops. This is usually code language to run, but somehow it became an adjective in this handbook. Also, half of the definitions are wrong on this page. On top of the wrong definitions, the phonetic pronunciations are all terrible. You really have to read them to get a feeling for how bad they really are.

Page seven features a lovely poem with more vocabulary. Glaring problems: cigarettes are jacks/squares, no one uses public phones anymore unless they are dealing drugs, and is should be replaced with are for almost all of the examples given since they are plural.

Overall, if anyone tried to relate to Black people with ebonics, they will get shanked with a dull bic pen. Oh, that's right, I will totally shank someone if they tried to come to me with this weak shit. I'd go McEnroe all on their shit. And, I'd be the easiest of them all. Please, please, white people: don't talk like this book wants you too. All Black people can speak proper english.