Dear White People: Don’t Use these Slang Words

3 min readOct 1, 2022

Phrases like “no cap” or “on-fleek” terms that are commonly used by Zoomers steals from Black culture. Let’s talk about it.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

One of the things that I’ve learned in social studies is that cultural identity is important to a group’s history especially if that group has faced a history of prejudice, discrimination, and dehumanization based on their skin color. And this begins with language.

While social media often popularizes terminology and new terms evolve and become part of everyday vocabulary it’s led to the theft of terminology among people of color, particularly African Americans. African American Vernacular English (a.k.a. AAVE) is an essential part of the black community’s cultural and historical identity. After 400 years of discrimination from white people and little to no history of even birth records, language and vocabular within this community was the one thing that brought African Americans together.

AAVE Terminology

While slang is present in our vocabular on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook there are terms you may not be able to use because it’s considered AAVE terminology. You may have even used these without knowing that it was considered AAVE terminology, and that’s the reason I’m writing this article raise awareness.

If you’re not African American or black here are the terms you are not allowed to say that you may have thought was okay to use.

While some terms and phrases will be up for debate these is the general consensus regarding AAVE terminology that white people are not allowed to use.

None of these terms or phrases were created by Gen Z, almost all of them are terms and phrases from AAVE. The only exception is the word hella which originated in the San Franscisco Bay area in the 1970s and eventually became part of West Coast terminology.

What are some alternatives to these AAVE Terms I Can Use?

The first step is to recognize and make sure you don’t use these terms and to the answer the question mentioned, there’s a great website for alternative terms and slang you can use. It shows the term, meaning, and alternative terms you can use as a non-black person.

  • Instead of On fleek use perfect or cool
  • Instead of Sis use bestie or best friend
  • Instead of Yeet use throw or dunk
  • Instead of Yas Queen use Love her or admire her

I’ll post a link to this article below so you can hopefully learn and become aware of terms that are acceptable. I was inspired to write this article by my girlfriend who’s an amazing person and helped me learn about AAVE terms and phrases and why it’s part of her identity as part of the black community. Thanks hon.

Source: What is AAVE and which words are non-black people asked to avoid? (

AppropriationDictionary — By The Way Creative




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