September 1, 2010, - 3:47 pm
When the Drug Enforcement Administration recently advertised for several Ebonics-fluent employees, I wasn’t as offended as many others on the right. It’s a sad fact that many drug dealers can’t and don’t speak the Queen’s English. They are lowlifes, and they are fluent in the language of lowlife-ism. And if you want to infiltrate and stop lowlifes, you must speak and understand their “language,” too. You gotta speak “thug” to crush thugs. That’s why we also need so many Arabic translators.
When news of the Ebonics recruitment broke, I’d just gotten through watching the DVD set of HBO’s “The Wire,” about Baltimore police going up against inner city drug rings (at the suggestion of our friend, the JIDF). The cops are constantly listening to dealers on wiretaps (thus, the show’s title), and even the most streetwise Black cops don’t understand all the lingo, needing a woman to translate for them. The survival and flourishing of Ebonics is a sad statement about the failure and degradation of Black culture in urban America. The “language” is tolerated and elevated in the hip-hop world, and, thus, it succeeds.
Frankly, though, I have the perfect White chick candidate for DEA Chief Ebonics Officer:
And as Barbara Billingsley would say to those miffed that the DEA is seeking fluent Ebonicists:
Chump don’ wan’ da help. Chump don’ get da help.
(My fave line from “Airplane.”) And that ain’t no jive, bro.
Cold got to be.
Bonus #2 – Barbie B. tells us about her experience with jive–”It started my whole career again”:
Tags: airplane, Barbara Billingsley, DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration, ebonics, employment, Justice Department, The Wire, translators