September 1, 2010, - 3:47 pm

The Perfect DEA Ebonics Translator

By Debbie Schlussel

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.

Bonus video:

Cold got to be.

Bonus #2 – Barbie B. tells us about her experience with jive–“It started my whole career again”:

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25 Responses

Did they have ebonics as a language on the census? And when will gov’t forms need to be written in ebonics? I can just see the language arts classes at many lib universities like UC Berkley offering this gutter language as a course.

I wonder if BHO is teaching his little girls ebonics…

Jarhead on September 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I wonder if this is how the Romans felt when their precious Latin was being bastardized and turned into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, etc.

Elise on September 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    The Romance languages grew out of vulgar Latin and in a sense they are to some extent mutually intelligible due to their descent from the parent Latin. Romanian is close to pure Latin and Italian and Portuguese are less close. Portuguese is pronounced more like French than like Spanish. And of course the Spanish and Portuguese dialects of the Americas differ from those of Spain and Portugal. The reason for the breaking down of Latin into separate national dialects was the peoples in different parts of the Roman Empire no longer used the old lingua franca, which became a preserve of the aristocracy and the Church.

    NormanF on September 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      Language evolution is a slow process. The different peoples of what is today France didn’t all convene and decide how exactly their language was going to differ from Latin, and neither did the peoples of modern Spain, Portugal, etc. The fact is, language evolution happens. Very rare is a there a language that’s unrelated to surrounding languages (some that come to mind are Finnish and Hungarian).

      Language is not something that’s offically decided on – it never has been. It’s evolution always reflects the story of the people who speak it and always derives from surrounding languages. As native English speakers, we may scoff at the crudeness of Ebonics, but linguists who’ve studied it have found that it’s not random – it has grammatical rules it follows. That makes it a language.

      I’d like someone to answer me the question: “If BEV is not a language, then tell me, what is?”

      Elise on September 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Rome fell in 476 A.D. The languages you mentioned came long afterwards. Ebonics is not the result of a social collapse, as was the case with the demise of Latin. Instead, it is a form of separatism and self-imposed isolation. Being unable to communicate with over 90% of the rest of the population is a sure ticket to nowhere. Also, do you really want us to go back to the time right after the fall of Rome, namely the Dark Ages(500-1000 A.D.)? As a female, your life expectancy would be less than thirty, and you would be deemed an elderly crone at 40. Enjoy!

    Worry01 on September 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I always like June and I roared at BB’s Jive Scene in this movie.

Totally cool!

As goes on September 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I’m pretty sure California has a drivers test written in ebonics.

Farmerjohn on September 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

So this is what the taxpayers like us have to show for the Government taking all our money.

Little Al on September 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm

No doubt one of the funniest scenes in any movie-especially since it was “June Cleaver” (I also roared when I saw she’s still wearing pearls! “What lovely Pearls, Mrs. Cleaver.”).

As for Ebonics, as much as I may find it objectionable that some blacks apparently can’t (or won’t) speak English properly; I find the number of other Americans who can’t speak the language correctly to be even more appalling. I’m not referring to immigrants, legal or otherwise either. I mean the increasing number of Americans who are not receiving a basic education in English (or in mathematics or the sciences as well) thanks to the infiltration of the once-great American education system by the likes of Obama-pal, confidante and ghost-writer Bill Ayers and his equally vile wife, Bernadine Dohrn. These people have replaced education with indoctrination, which is one of the reasons Ebonics has become acceptable (you know of course there was actually a push to teach Ebonics in public schools). Until we drive trash like Ayers out of education we can expect to see a continuing deterioration in the culture.

Tom in Michigan on September 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm

[DS:That’s why we also need so many Arabic translators.]

Does this mean you’ve changed your mind about Muslims and Gays in the US military.

Norman Blitzer on September 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    What do gays in the military have to do with Arabic translators???

    And not all arabic speakers are muslim- take my street arabic fluent Jewish American brother (and US Navy vet), for instance…

    Psycho Phreak on September 3, 2010 at 10:49 am

Blitz – you are a f#cking moron. What didn’t you quote the previous sentence also.

“You gotta speak “thug” to crush thugs. That’s why we also need so many Arabic translators.” She’s talking about arab thugs as well ghetto thugs. Is that too simplistic for your brain housing group to comprehend?

Jarhead on September 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    You’re a complete idiot, Jarhead. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Norman Blitzer on September 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

Debbie, classic!!!!

When my husband and I first heard of this story, the “Airplane” segment was the first thing that came to our minds…while a pitiful state of affairs it was good laugh for the day!

Pam on September 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Ebonics is more of a spoken language, they are illiterate and are spelling or reading by phonics, so don’t look forward to an actual official ebonics dictionary. Every version would spell it differently and have different meanings depending on which coast the writer was from (or which gang he belonged to).

ender on September 1, 2010 at 9:55 pm

All these years I’ve loved that Airplane segment but I didn’t recognize until now that it was Wally’s and Beaver’s mom.

Now it’s double funneh. lulz!

Shy Guy on September 2, 2010 at 3:17 am

It can be a beautiful language. Did you know that in Ebonics, “Jennifer Love Hewitt” is a complete sentence? I know because I once saw it carved on the one remaining tree in Compton.

Irving on September 2, 2010 at 3:39 am

My, such ignorance abounds about what Ebonics is and is not.

1. Ebonics is not a language, simply a NON-standard dialect of English. That does not make it SUB-standard.
2. Also called AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), Ebonics has fairly uniform grammatical features despite speakers far-flung across the country. It is not simply “Bad English”, but rather, exhibits systematic rules and tendencies with regard to phonology, word order, tense, etc.
3. Showing similarity with several English-based creoles, there is research that suggests AAVE arose from creoles originally spoken amongst slaves, such as Gullah. People still grow up speaking Gullah, such as Justice Clarence Thomas.

and with all that said,

4. Yes, it is appalling how so many people of ALL races are unable to master the more standard/formal registers of English for everyday use.

Robert on September 2, 2010 at 3:40 am

Can I get a what what?

CaliforniaScreaming on September 2, 2010 at 9:47 am

This race has done more to bring America to it’s knees more than any outside influence ever could. Look at any country on earth ,and see how the assimilation of the Black race has only degraded society.

Vaughn on September 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Memorize the following, to use as a response the next time you suffer an ebonic verbal assault:

“Oh, that you did see my daily and hourly sighs, groans, and tears, and thumps that I afford mine own breast, and how I rue and curse the time of my birth, with holy Job. I thought no head had been able to hold so much water as hath and doth daily flow from mine eyes!”

Watch your assailant’s eyes glaze over and then listen closely to the sound of his brain synapses popping like shrimp in a deep fat fryer.

Graty Slapchop on September 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm

No problem with ebonics or any other “slang” or regional languages/dialects. The problems result when people born and raised in the USA can’t ALSO speak, read, and write proper English. There was a news clip featured on various web sites recently which showed a Black teacher correcting his Black students language usage… the reporter then spoke to the students, and the universal comment by the students was “we never knew it was supposed to said that way- no one ever taught us that”, i.e. the letters a s k pronounced as ASK, not AXE.

And as Yiddish is essentially Jewbonics, one Yiddish speaker (born in the USA) complained to me that because his “english was not so good” he can’t get a decent job. He was smart enough to realize this situation and worked on his skills.

Psycho Phreak on September 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

Sheez mon, yoz got dat rite. Ugh! How sad

Paul on September 3, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Kill a chicken, drag it through the garden…

Rick on September 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

OK, ban me … but

“Ward, you were awful hard on the Beaver last night”

I know, I’m a bad boy – SFW

Rick on September 5, 2010 at 11:10 am

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