Although they still don’t seem to be reading what we’d call “real” literature as much as many of us would like (most never heard of Colson Whitehead), in spite of the pandemic and more idle time, our youth are certainly reading Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and a host of other digital sources- generally learning how to word fence without learning useful logic.

I guess we should be pleased about that, but as the Gen Zers change the language again, right after we thought we had gotten “woke” and could understand hip hop language derivations again—every generation of African-Americans have changed the English language, mostly for the better—here they come again befuddling us all.

Of course we all know what they’re talking about when they casually utter, “He’s just a simp!” (No, it’s not that.)

See can you follow along with this dialogue.

“Yikes! I was lit today on that wig test! (says one)

“And me, I flexed myself !! (says another)

Well, one of you is capping! And that’s a periodt !” (a third says)

You snatch? (second speaker)

Bet. (first speaker)

No cap? (second speaker)

I was fire ! (first speaker)

SkSkSkSk. (second speaker)

Me? Shook! (third speaker)

I’m lowkey salty now. (second speaker)

You shoulda stayed. You lit. (first speaker)

Yeet ! (third speaker)

Okay, spill the tea on that extra. (second speaker)

NaNa, I’ma take it to my finsta. (first speaker)

No shade, you got me? (third speaker)

I’ma go off. (first speaker)

Ya better not stan, fool! (third speaker)

I know ya thirsty! “But I ain’t no simp!” (first speaker)

“Bet.” (third speaker)


(First speaker) I was amazing today on that test in class !

(Second speaker) And I showed off, too !

(Third speaker) Well, one of you is lying for sure!

(Second speaker) You really did well on it?

(First speaker) Damn right!

(Second speaker) No lie?

(First speaker) I was absolutely great !

(Second speaker) Outstanding.

(Third speaker) Me? I’m scared I flunked.

(Second speaker) Well, I’m annoyed I didn’t do better.

(First speaker) You should have succeeded. You’re better than me.

(Third speaker) It’s too late to say that now !!

(Second speaker) Okay, tell us how you faked that off.

(First speaker) Uh-uh. I’ll only put it on my private Instagram.

(Third Speaker) Better not talk bad about us there.

(First speaker) I’m just going to run with how good I was.

(Third speaker) You better keep a wrap on all that!

(First speaker) I know you want some attention, but it won’t be coming that way. I’m not into building somebody else up.

(Third speaker) Ok. Fine by me.

Just when we thought we at least had all the lingo down, here they go again. Buckle up, ya’ll. We got to get snatched up in here !!!

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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