hip hop essentials

Why I hate the term ‘AAVE’ (as a black person) and why you can’t appropriate it.

For those of you who don’t know, AAVE stands for African American Vernacular English. This is the ‘proper’ term for words that were “invented” by African Americans. These are slang terms like bae and shit.

The reason I hate the term is because the name basically says this is black people language. when it isn’t. It is a subculture’s slang. Fam and dumb___ are hip hop’s version of dude and gnarly. They are words that are popular in that subculture.

To say that hip hop slang is essentially black people words, that’s hella racist. Black people are not monolith; we don;t all participate in the same subcultures and hip hop is not inherently black. This is such a regressive term, basically saying it’s okay to call rap and stuff “black people music” and the slang words from it “black people language”.

One can’t appropriate something that isn’t a part of an actual ethnicity’s culture. Saying you can’t appropriate AAVE is just as bad as saying that you have to be a “real goth” to shop at Hot Topic (some craziness I’ve actually seen with my own two human eyes). These are words that belong to a music based subculture that is mainstream right now. These words are in no way sacred to black people, and I worry about you if you do hold them that close. If and likely when hip hop/rap/trap music goes out of style, this won’t even BE an argument.

Appropriation is the action of taking something for one’s own use. Cultural Appropriation is adopting elements of one culture into a different culture. Unless you are somehow twisting the original meaning, you aren’t appropriating. And this only counts if it’s actually part of a culture. If you wear a war bonnet as a fashion statement you are appropriating because that has actual cultural meaning that you are taking away from. If you were to take a traditional tea ceremony from Japan and made it into some drinking game with your friends you are appropriating because this has actual cultural meaning. If you call your friend or significant other bae or say you are going to turn up, you are not appropriating anything. Not only do these terms not belong to any actual culture, but you are using them correctly! Drop all the hollas you want, white fam. It’s not a problem in the least.

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West coast head nod ish!