Tag Archives: time joke

“Time For Black Folks to Get Their Own Nation”

B is a Black student at USC. In her free time, she enjoys dancing in a club on campus. B’s family is constantly joking around with each other. Her grandfather is credited with starting most of the proverbs, and her father adopted them.

Every time B’s father would ask B’s grandfather what time it was, he would answer, “It’s time for Black folks to get their own nation.” Now, B’s father answers the same way when B asks what time it is. B has adopted the saying as well, but she only responds with the proverb when another Black person asks her what time it is.

Family folklore is a special type of folklore because it connects a group of people together, and especially with B’s family, a lot of their family folklore is derived from their experience as Black Americans. According to B, her grandfather considers himself a “blackologist”. A lot of the proverbs made in B’s family are centered around empowering Black people, which is why her grandfather and father answer time related questions with “time for Black folks to get their own nation”. Time is an important part of American folklore, and a lot of folk speech is created from it. There is a possibility this proverb comes from “time for you to get a watch”, which is used as a way to poke fun at the person asking. In this version, however, there is no poking fun or putting someone down. There is more of an empowering, community-centered response. The fact that this proverb has been passed through generations shows that there continues to be a link between timeliness in American folklore, and more specifically, race in American folklore.