A Question About Repartee, Trading Fours, and the Dozens

Definition of repartee 1a : a quick and witty reply b : a succession or interchange of clever retorts : amusing and usually light sparring with words 2 : adroitness and cleverness in reply : skill in repartee...

Trading Fours is a technique in which musicians consistently alternate brief solos of pre-set length (for trading foursfourbars; musicians may also trade twos, eights, and so forth). Trading foursusually occurs after each musician has had a chance to play a solo, and often involves alternating four-bar segments with the drummer.

The Dozens is a game of spoken words between two contestants, common in black communities of the United States, where participants insult each other until one gives up. It is customary for the Dozens to be played in front of an audience of bystanders, who encourage the participants to reply with increasingly egregious insults in order to heighten the tension and, consequently, make the contest more interesting to watch. It is also known as "blazing", "hiking", "roasting", "capping", "clowning", "ranking", "ragging", "rekking", "crumming", "sounding", "checkin", "joning", "woofing", "wolfing", "sigging", or "signifying",[1][2] while the insults themselves are known as "snaps".[3][4]

Comments in the game focus on the opposite player's intelligence, appearance, competency, social status, and financial situation. Disparaging remarks about the other player's family members are common: especially mothers ("yo′ mama...")—to the extent that those outside the African-American community often use the specific term "yo momma jokes" incorrectly to refer to the Dozens.


So here's the question:

Which of these forms of interaction should a white person avoid when interacting with a black person?

Views: 122

Comment by alsoknownas on April 8, 2019 at 3:11pm

I would say "Trading Fours" because white people do not have rhythm.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on April 8, 2019 at 3:19pm

When we lived in San Diego, we often ate a late lunch at this place in the Little Italy district of San Diego.  Not only was the food great (It was REAL authentic), but it was frequented by a LOT of the members of the San Diego Opera Company.  It was so popular with them because they could "sing" in exchange for their meals.  One guy would stand up and sing "four-bars" of an aria (in Italian, o' course), then someone else would sing the next, and so on and so on.  Regularly, there would be 10 - 12 people going round.  T'was great and you could tell they had a LOT of fun doing it.

Terms like "The Dozens" (a term I'd never even heard until recently) being used by white people is pretty pitiful.  I could give a rat's ass if someone is going to try to trash talk smack, but trying to act like they are "with it" by using "appropriated" terms is/was ridiculous (especially when they sucked at it in the first place).

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on April 8, 2019 at 3:25pm

\"...because white people do not have rhythm."

Okay.  I guess we can add chicken shit passive aggressive racism to the list now too.

Comment by Ron Powell on April 8, 2019 at 4:12pm
Comment by Ron Powell on April 8, 2019 at 4:17pm
Comment by Ron Powell on April 8, 2019 at 4:28pm

"I would say "Trading Fours" because white people do not have rhythm."

That's not even good repartee...

Comment by Ron Powell on April 8, 2019 at 4:33pm

Amy, I can only imagine what that experience was like...

Trading Fours is commonplace in jazz, but opera!?...All I can say is WOW!!!

Comment by alsoknownas on April 8, 2019 at 4:46pm

My professor in college for a class entitled "The History of Black Literature" ( BTW: an accomplished jazz bassist in his own right) asked in class once if anyone in the room knew what ANT was.

None of the guys in black leather coats and berets in the back row answered. I volunteered my answer. American Negro Time was the antiquated, although at the time correct answer. I was asked to explain. Some bristled and rose from their chairs.To them he iterated that it took nerve to do such in a class room in those early '70's, and that I had done it without any flavor of racism attached.

Maybe I'm slipping Ron, but I think he would have told you also to sit down and listen.

Comment by Maui Surfer on April 8, 2019 at 5:09pm

Time Out --- or, it's about time ...

The Dozens is such an old term, Yo Mama so low she play handball off the curb ... Kids today are into Battling on the Mic, and I must say nothing has ever been more appropriated than Hip Hop, though one might also say nothing has proved as resilient. It is both fake and authentic simultaneously, amazing, n'est ce pas?

However, I seen plenty of Paddy Boys play the Dozens in the day and hold up. I definitely seen them, only some yet a few, play every kind of music, mad props to the Haoles who can play Slack Key Hawaiian style.

But, and surfing is highly individualistic and obscenely competitive, mano y mano or between any and any of the others, and as far as repartee, try taking on a ghetto Aussie, those white boys have some mouth on them, and a never say die approach to back it up.

These three examples don't make it for me, seen to many white folks hit it out of the park on all three ...

Comment by Ron Powell on April 8, 2019 at 6:24pm

"None of the guys in black leather coats and berets in the back row answered. I volunteered my answer."

If you waited long enough for one of those guys to answer, you wouldn't have had a chance to volunteer a response if I were in the classroom...

There would have been no need for bristling getting out of line in any way, shape,  form, or fashion...

I'd have beaten you to it...Your response would have been a bit slower than mine...


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