You’re “Too Street”: Coded Language People Use When They Really Mean Something Else

September 3, 2015  |  
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Have you heard this coded language before?  These are the phrases people use when they want to say something ugly, but don’t want to use those exact words.

You’re “Too Street”

When even the very polished Idris Elba qualifies, it’s hard to misinterpret this one. And for every suburban, urban and rural person of color who’s heard that dismissive term, here’s Elba’s perfect response.

“You People”

You mean Black folks? “You people” is what individuals say when they can’t use the word they really want to use.

Your Hair Is “A Distraction”

Which really means only straight hair is allowed in the office or classroom. The way your hair naturally grows is unacceptable (and cause for expulsion).

Why Are You So “Angry”?

Ironically, women like Nancy Grace and Ann Coulter are never stereotyped as angry White women.


Translation: “I am afraid to say ‘Black’ out loud.”

You’re So “Articulate”

Translation: “This surprises me because TV shows and music videos led me to believe that a basic command of the English language wasn’t a characteristic of your people.”

An Item Is “Too Expensive” For You

From Oprah to the average Barney’s shopper, this assumption has been made about quite a few minority shoppers.

“Are You In The Right Neighborhood?”

Heard by minorities in predominantly White neighborhoods everywhere.

You’re “Too Loud”

The women on the Napa Valley Wine Train were told just that before being kicked off. And the cheers from a graduate’s family cost him his diploma because they were told the same thing.

This Neighborhood Is “Sketchy”

Translation: “There are too many working-class minorities here, and it’s making me uncomfortable.”

You’re So “Sassy”

Translation: “I interpret all of your reactions through my favorite ’90s stereotype of women snapping their fingers and rolling their necks.”

You’re “Too Masculine”

Translation: “Your talent and nonstop winning is unfair.”

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