10 Randomly Specific Things Specific To Blackness That Always Tickle The Hell Out Of Me


1. How Black men tend to happily and matter-of-factly greet and address each other by making random nouns that have no business being pronouns pronouns

Of course, words like "dude" and "man" ("What up, man?") are universal. But only another Black man will hit you with a "What up, money?" Or maybe a "What's good, killa?" Or perhaps a "What's going on, boss?" Or even a "What it do, gangsta?"

2. The ways certain Black people who don't say "nigga" still find a way to say "nigga"


Personally, I think using "ninjas" or "trigga" as a substitute for "nigga" is cheating. Because everyone knows what you're really trying to say. So even though the word "ninjas" is what comes out of your mouth, I know you're referring to "niggas" so I'm hearing "niggas." It's like nigga inception. #Iknowyouresayingnigganiggasojustsayit

3. How just saying "White people" can provide a two word summary of what would have been a 17-minute-long story


"What happened at the work retreat last weekend? How did it go?"

"White people happened."

"Say no more."

4. The hysterical and disproportionate reaction to an act of athleticism that actually requires and exhibits more athleticism than the initial act itself


Best seen in every YouTube highlight video where someone dunks a basketball, and then someone in the crowd is so excited by this dunk that they do a full somersault off the bleachers, stick the landing, and then run a 3.8 40-meter-dash out into the hallway.

Bonus points if they make a face like they're passing a kidney stone:


Or like they just witnessed Bigfoot give birth to a unicorn:


5. Not own any attire appropriate for a white party when under 35, but somehow manage to have an entire collection of white party appropriate outfits (and variations of those outfits) by 50

Let's just say that if I needed to go to a white party this weekend, I'd have two choices:

A) Go to Macys and find some shit in the "Black People's Summer Linens" section

B) Go to my dad's house and raid his closet

6. The near-obsessive collection and ownership of scented candles

I have no facts or figures to back this up, but while we're 20% of the population here, I'd guess we make up 89% of the scented candle buying market. Shit, as I type this right now there are seven scented candles within my field of vision; three of which are still wrapped in plastic and will probably stay wrapped in plastic forever.


7. How Black women possess the ability make "girl" a pronoun, a single word question, and a single word exclamation

It's not particularly uncommon to listen to Black women have an entire conversation where "girl" is literally the only thing said.



"Girl, did you see what happened last night?"





8. How "cousin" becomes a prefix when there's a cousin who's much older than you and just calling them by their first name would be disrespectful


Basically, if Frank is 22, he's just Frank. But if Frank is 62 and you're 22, he's officially "Cousin Frank" to you. Unless, of course, you desire to get throat-punched by a surprisingly-flexible-for-her-age aunt.

(I actually suspect some White people might do this too. White people reading this, is this true?)


9. How even when at an uber-formal Black tie event, the urge to mean-mug in a picture just never, ever, ever, ever goes away

It starts young too.


10. Have week-long pedantic arguments that might seem heated but are actually chock full of love and Blackness about the types of condiments that should go on corn-based breakfast foods

I still maintain that grits don't matter enough to have these debates. But the debates themselves are more fun than actually eating grits. (So I guess grits do matter. Fuck!)

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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12. When we hear of some crazy, batsh!t, horrific mother of all crime…..
First thing we ask?
"Were they Black?"

12. Root for any Black contestants on ANY game show, since your grandmomma used to do it.