Welcome to the Go Inside New York Black Street Slang Exam!
Before the politically correct police bust us — brand us racist bigots — and toss us to the thought cops… let me explain why I’m posting this “Exam” here.
I’m posting it because I failed it. Everyone I know failed it. I am a woman from Council Bluffs, Iowa and my parents are Irish and German: You can’t get Whiter or more Wonder Bread than that! (Some of my friends tease me that you can’t get any more “Redneck” than that!)
This test is a fascinating lesson in the culture of a language and a language as a culture. Don’t think of this exam as a “test” think of it more as an “examination.”
Most agree that all cultures must better understand each other. That spirit of understanding is what will drive me here in this article. I’ll try to help shed some light on the varied aspects of as many cultures as I can possibly find to share with you.
The exam is not an assault upon New York. I’d love to post a Los Angeles version of this exam or a Redmond, Washington version or a Lincoln, Nebraska version if they exist! Let me know if you have any thoughts on the matter.
This exam originally appeared on The Howard Stern Radio Show and it was quite real and not a joke. I can’t stand Howard or his show, but I can’t let my personal feelings bother this issue.
Since I’m Deaf, I found the transcript of the radio show on the internet and got the lowdown on what happened after my husband urged me to examine the test for cultural pings and language resonances. I’ve taught American Sign Language at New York University for seven years now, so language and how it operates is the business and purpose of my day.
Here’s the backgrounder: A female Puerto Rican prison guard called into the The Howard Stern Radio Show and created the test to check Robin Quiver’s “Blackness Quotient.”
Needless to say, Robin failed the test worst than Howard and the gang — and Robin was urged by the prison guard to “go out and buy a blond wig to go with her lily-white skin” even though Robin is Black! The exam was deemed “honest and true” by a Black intern who works on Howard’s staff. The intern only got 80% on the exam.
So, let’s begin! Let’s learn together! Let’s test your knowledge of New York Black Street Slang!
The New York
Black Street Slang Exam
– answers at the end of this page –
1. How do you say “Excuse Me” or “Pardon Me” or “Sorry!”?
2. If someone says “Ayyyy-Yooo!” to you on the street, what is your reply?
3. “I’m a snuff you” means…
A. I’m gonna punch you.
B. I’m gonna kill you.
C. I’m gonna leave you.
D. All of the above.
4. “She got a gas face” means…
A. She has light skin.
B. She’s very happy.
C. She’s giving you a dirty look.
D. None of the above.
5. “It’s the ball!” means what?
6. “Nine pound” means what?
7. What is a “Hoop-Dee”?
8. Name the following places in New York:
A. Up North
B. Strong Island
C. Boogie Down
D. The Hill
9. Does “Buttafuco” mean:
10. “Mom’s Dew” means what?
Answers: New York Black Street Slang Exam
1. “My bad.”
2. “Aw-ite” (derivative of “alright!”)
3. A. “I’m gonna punch you.”
4. C. “She’s giving you a dirty look.”
5. “It is good!”
6. The year 1995.
7. A broken down car that rides low to the ground driven mainly by Dominicans.
8. A. The New York State Penitentiary
B. Long Island
C. The Bronx
D. Staten Island
9. C. Both. “Buttafuco” in the Penitentiary means “Faggy”, but on the street it means “Cool”.
10. Your mother.
So? How’d you do? Get any right? If you did, I congratulate you on being sensitive to a rich culture. If you didn’t do very well… there’s hope! Perhaps you’ll learn there’s a world and a life out there that exists apart from your home culture and by opening your heart and mind — you can discover a new Avenue of understanding and sensitivity.
Or… maybe not…
But the fact remains that if you’re in some way upset by this examination — I’m thrilled! You were touched and these days we’re always being mauled numb and to have a reaction – however small – is a nice sign of being alive.
I hope you’ll consider the spirit in which this exam was posted. Truth and understanding never hurt anyone and they are the foundations upon which we must begin to rebuild relationships to those outside our home culture.
Okay. We’re done now. Are you gonna call the thought cops or shall I? :0