Okay sis, I’ve got some news for you! I know it’s fun to bally around whatever catchphrase you heard on Drag Race, but have you ever thought about where those terms come from? Sure, everyone enjoys telling someone to sashay away or to read them for filth, but have you ever read some critical language theory? Hunty, those words and phrases that you like to use are almost certainly taken, stolen, and appropriated from African American culture and when your skinny white ass drops them in some casual convo, you’re showing just how ignorant you are.
“But it’s fun to say these things!” you protest as you spray enough fake tan to give even Ariana Grande pause. We all love some fresh vernacular but it’s time that we, as white people trying to do better, stopped appropriating AAVE!
It’s not impossible. It just requires us to do something no white person in America has ever done: build something on their own!
So say “Bye Felicia” to your preconceived notions of which words you can say . I’m white and I came up with a bunch of slang white gays can use instead of stealing from black queers. Can POC use these terms? Sure, anyone can… except for straight cis white men. They’re still the worst, but just barely! So why not take the time to learn these new alternative phrases for white people and keep those straight cis white men firmly in first place for being the absolute worst.
Instead of: Okurrrrrrr
Say: Yes Indeedy, Ally Sheedy!
It will make you sound less like a cultural appropriator and it will probably make Ally Sheedy feel good to hear so many people saying her name again.
Instead of: Wig!
Listen, if you’re willing to just say “Wig!” anytime anything happens to literally anyone (we’re looking at you, Katy Perry), then you might as well just say anything else so, uh, how about… hmmm… “flumph.” Sure, that works! No matter what happens you can just say “flumph.” It doesn’t mean anything which is perfect since you have nothing of importance to say anyways. Flumph!
Instead of: Yes Gawd!
Say: No God, why is this happening to me?
Honestly this one is for everyone. Why are you praising God when you’re slowly dying on a decaying planet without a future? Just accept the inevitable and curse whatever sick deity would make a planet like this and then abandon it to humanity’s worst impulses.
Instead of: You betta work!
Say: Make it work!
This one’s easy. I didn’t even have to make it up. It comes from gay white America’s gayest whitest American Tim Gunn and it’s already been floating around out there for like two decades. Bonus: everyone loves a Tim Gunn impersonation. Honestly, from here on out, the next time you’re thinking about putting on a black femme voice and saying something for laughs, just ask yourself “What Would Tim Gunn Say?” and say that instead.
Instead of: Woke
Say: Mama, I have awoken; is the quiche ready?
Quiche is also a metaphor in this slang, representing a perfect world in which the eggs of equality, the pie crust of humanity, and the various fillings that makes us all special have come together to form a more perfect and egalitarian world. Instead of proclaiming yourself “woke,” by asking “Mama, I have awoken; is the quiche ready?” you let POC know that the struggle is still ongoing while also inviting them to let you know “No, you have to make the quiche yourself.”
Instead of: Slay!
Say: Actually I think this one might have grown out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom so you’re probably fine.
There’s nothing whiter than Sarah Michelle Gellar but we still love you sis!
Instead of: Throwing shade
Say: I’m a shitty person who designed their entire personality around insulting people because I hate myself and don’t have an actual personality.
Even if you never refer to your insults as “throwing shade”, this is probably true for you so take a good long look in the mirror and throw some shade at yourself for a fucking change.
Instead of: The House Down Boots
Say: Have you seen Kinky Boots? I hear it’s rather good. I got two tickets from a pledge drive and I wanted to see if you wanted to come. Oh you can? How wonderful! I’ll see you Sunday at 2!
And then you take me to see Kinky Boots.
So there you have it, white gays!
With these few minor adjustments, you can have fun while minimizing the damage you’re doing to queer POC and reminding everyone that white culture is just a pale, watered-down rehash of black culture from 20 years ago!
Julian Modugno is a writer and humorist based out of Chicago, IL. He hates everything you love and won't be happy until it's destroyed and you're left with nothing. You can follow him on instagram @historysgreatestmonster.