Heard on The Judges: "sucks"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 11 14:46:01 UTC 2008

Spoken by thirty-ish, black, male defendant:

"I'm great as a father, but I _suck_ as a boyfriend."


"Why is that?"


"Because I like to cheat."

Sigh! I fear for the vocabulary of the dialect. This is the first time
that I've heard "suck" as slang used naturally in the wild by a black
person. In all other cases, the person has used it in mockery of lame
white slang. Back in the day in Saint Louis, the word mocked was
"neat," used by white teenagers instead of "cool." E.g., if someone
did something lame, the bruz might say, "Gee, guy, that was really

White guys at my high school, in similar circumstances, would
sarcastically say, "Ho. Ho. That's. Rich." That struck me as pretty
decent. However, I didn't try to use it mungst the bruz, because the
referent was too literary. Pardon the snobbery, but wouldn't enough of
the bruthaz have gotten the point. It would have made me look weird.


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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