While scrolling on my Twitter feed the other day, my meme hunt was interrupted by a post from SocialBee reading, “Expressions That Gen Z Coined.” These “expressions” were common terms created and used by Black people since before I was born. As expected, Black Twitter dragged the poor company for filth.
The social media managing company posts a series of blogs on its website providing marketing tips and guidance on creating content. However, one Twitter user got a glimpse of their blog post claiming that a list of words straight out of the AAVE dictionary were coined by Gen Z. We know “Gen Z” really means the young white people of pop culture. You know, the same ones who have taken over TikTok with their “it’s giving” and “not (insert phrase)” dialect they snagged from Black creators.
“A whole social company whitewashing AAVE…hate to see it,” tweeted user Kaysen.
Countless nonBlack creators have adopted a blaccent and AAVE to gain views because they know it makes their content and storytelling more engaging. However, they use our lingo as a costume because they see it solely as a tool for amusement. Then suddenly, as if it has never existed before, they market our language as new and trendy.
Read more about AAVE and Gen Z from The Washington Post:
As Generation Z influencers and Black entertainers continue to shape the internet landscape, from viral memes to TikTok dances, AAVE has shown up in more online spaces. But some Black AAVE speakers believe that the language has been incorrectly chalked up as new vocabulary started by young people — and they’ve been calling out non-Black people for glorifying internet stars who butcher the speech and lack understanding of the language’s cultural significance.
Language unravels the evolution of a speaker’s history, geography and culture, miles-hercules said. As AAVE lands into the laps of people who didn’t grow up speaking it, those who try and fail to use it properly can be viewed as ignorant by Black communities. At worst, they’re perceived as appropriating Black culture and perpetuating racism as they take on Black speech without assuming Black Americans’ struggle, speakers say.
“Why are you discussing vernacular that originated on an entirely different continent with no input from said originators?” tweeted one user in the SocialBee conversation. The answer is because when we speak our own lingo, it’s either a problem or inappropriate.
For decades, popular culture has profited off Black culture without giving credit or sharing the capital. Now the youth are continuing the offense as a means for attention.
The Root reached out to SocialBee for comment.