Things Black People Say When You Might Be About to Catch Those Hands But You're Not Quite Sure

Illustration for article titled Things Black People Say When You Might Be About to Catch Those Hands But You're Not Quite Sure
Screenshot: Girls Trip (YouTube Movieclips)

1. “Aiight. Bet.”

If the “Aiight. Bet” is accompanied by a lack of eye contact and a slight head nod—and not a shy lack of eye contact but eyes that are clearly focused on something else—run. Don’t ask questions. Don’t wait for clarification. Just run.


2. “Word? Aiight.”


3. “Aiight den.”

Same, again.

4. “Aiight, aiight”

Thus ends the famed and dreaded “Aiight Foursome.” The irony here is that “aiight” is a colloquial version of “alright.” Alright, of course, means everything is fine. Alright can even be the extra jolly “alrighty.” And usually “aiight” means fine too. But sometimes it doesn’t.

5. “Keep that same energy”

A relatively new addition to the list of things that sound like they could be said in peace but really ain’t, keep that same energy isn’t necessarily a sign that things are about to jump off immediately. But someone is clearly unhappy with someone else. Perhaps because said someone else was selling wolf tickets or, regrettably (for them), popping off at the mouth.

6. “But for real for real”

Has a double meaning. As I noted in a Facebook status over the weekend, never in the history of niggas has a nigga told a lie after saying “but for real for real.” But, as someone noted in a reply, it can also serve as a threat.


It could be “But for real for real, the Potato Patch has the best cheese fries in Pittsburgh.” (Not a threat) Or “But for real for real ... aiight den.” (Run!)

7. “I just think it’s funny that ... ”

Just trust that nothing funny has ever been said after “I just think it’s funny that ...”


8. “We can catch a fair one right now”

If you’re not a black person, or maybe just a person who hasn’t had much contact with black people, a person suggesting that you “catch a fair one” together might make you think he wants to catch a bus or something with you. A nice bus that will take you through a scenic and bucolic landscape. I regret to inform you that you will not be taking that bus together.


9. “Nah, go ahead. I’m listening.”

If this is accompanied by an extra hard listening face—like, they’re nodding their head and saying “Mmhmm. Mmhmm.” after everything you say, but in a far too aggressive manner—you have seven to 13 seconds to convince them why they shouldn’t throw a fire hydrant at you.


10. “What’s good?”

Is both a very popular greeting—is perhaps my favorite, actually—and a rhetorical question Trojan horse that’s actually an instigation. Depending on the circumstance, your response to “What’s good?” should either be “Ain’t nothin’” or a sucker punch.


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)



“I just think it’s funny that...”

“Imma need you to keep that same energy”

May not denote hands, but you’re def about to be cussed the fuck out.