One thing they don’t tell you when you move to a new country is all the different cultural things you’ll encounter. Everyone expects to learn a new language, to make new friends, to start over, but no one prepares you for “your momma” jokes.
You see, where I come from, in Cuba, the most offensive thing you can say to another person is, “your mother.” This phrase is usually said in a menacing and insulting tone. Basically, picture the “F” word multiplied by a thousand and then picture someone saying those things to your mother. That phrase is taken from an even more offensive one, which pretty much says that someone will take a dump on your mother.
So when someone says, “your mother,” those are basically fighting words. There’s no question about it. If you’re a school kid and someone tells you that, you definitely have to fight that person or you man card will be revoked. I can’t even remember the many times I fought a bully in Cuba for saying those things.
So, when I arrived in the states, I saw all my non-Cuban friends telling “yo momma” jokes to each other. Everyone laughed, and if someone got offended, it was never to the level that a Cuban would.
I’ve been in the states for almost 20 years now, so I’ve gotten used to the “yo momma” jokes, but still, I better not hear someone tell me, “your mother.” Somewhere, deep down in my psyche, those are still fighting words.