Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 16:16:46 -0500


Subject: Re: Your Momma -- Sexual Connotation?

On Fri, 28 Jul 1995, Tom Uharriet wrote:

Shana Walton wrote:

I also have been cautioned by Northeastern and West Coast friends

(WASP-types) that it is rude, or at least can appear nosy, to inquire after

people's mamas, as in "how's your mama and them?" People apparently don't

all bring their families into their cognitive work world. Some told me

it's rather elitist, not a sign of civil concern (as in we're all

supposed to be seen as indivduals, family-free?) to ask about people's family

backgrounds (as in "who's your mama and them"). My friends said only people

who were concerned with your pedigree would ask this question and therefore

that people will take it wrong, as if you're trying to "sniff them out." Is

this true?

I'm from Los Angeles. I've never noticed any offences by questions

about parents. But then, I don't ever remember anyone asking about

them unless they already personally knew them. On the other hand,

I've seen fights break out in response to the words, "Your Momma!"

I'm not sure, but these words may have a sexual connotation.

One person insults another.

The second responds, "F___ You!"

The first says, "Your Mother!"

Is this a California thing? I've lived in Utah for six years and

haven't heard it here once.


Tom Uharriet

Springville, Utah


Interesting that everyone picked apart this phrase yo mama and them and

took it out of context. So let's see if we can clear up the pieces and

fragmens and then let's look at the whole phrase.

First Yo Momma, in balck amercan English..etc, is the worst comment that

youcan make when you are seriously insulting someone. The intesity of

this comment can lead you to akncok down,drag out fight on the streets.

However, it is also a game of one up manship played among kids and some

adults that has been a part of Black amercan culture for as far back as

my parents go. Before there time I could'nt comment on. There usage and

my sisters were in rhyme form.

Yo momma don't wear no draws(panties). I saw her when she took'em off.

She threw'em on a railroad track. That train jumped fifty miles back!

Today, Yo momma so dumb..she thought a quaterback was a refund.

or Yo Momma so old she new burger King when he was a prince.

These are used in game form and each person gest a turn to insult the

others and who(m) ever acan make the group laugh the hardest is

understood to be the winner or the best.

It also seems to me that many cultures have insults that involve talking

about one's mother that don't seem to be in the mode of sexual

connotations but again as the worst inusl that you could put on someone.

Tu madre in Spanish. In Persian, I think you can say that someone's

mother is a Bitch. and In Morrocan I can spit on your mother. these all

seem to be derrogatory by nature and can probably get you into a fight.

NOw, to address the idea of yo momma n' dem.. this seems to be normal in

context for my Chicagolect of BAE.

How's yo momma n' nem? How is your mother and the rest of the family or

whoever lives in that house with her.

The answer might be oh-- dey jus fine. And This would not be viewed

here as prying but just as a greeting and politeness about asking how

your family is getting along.

Ditra Henry

Northeastern Illinois University

5700 St. Louis AVe.

Chicago, IL 60654