#61: Know The Difference Between A Brotha and A Bro

Here is one of those weird cultural distinctions that almost every young person knows (my son Owen first enlightened me) and most old people are unaware of. What’s a Bro? And how is that different from a Brotha and a Brother — not to mention a brother from another mother and a brother from another planet?

Bros, for the uninitiated, are upmarket yos. They typically wear baseball caps, either frontward or backward, though these may occasionally be substituted for with tennis visors or stocking caps. In summer they wear sunglasses, cargo shorts, Adidas rubber slip-ons with a team tee shirt or a polo shirt; in winter jeans and athletic shoes.

In New England, almost every young male who isn’t a Goth or a Brotha is a Bro. In the West, Bros are a slightly different breed: less preppy frat boy, more truck-driving, beer-chugging buckaroo.

Bros are usually but not necessarily white. A Brotha, by constrast, is always black. Bros are proud to be Bros, though others may use the term in a derogatory manner. A Brotha is a more benign and all-encompassing term, to the point that an online site for black men is called mybrotha.com

A Brotha may call a fellow Brotha “Dawg” — or at least Randy Jackson does. A Bro will call a fellow Bro “Bro” — “What’s up, Bro?” — and might have a Golden Lab embroidered on his baseball cap.

Brotha’s girlfriends may be called Sistahs. Female Bros are sometimes called Bro Hoes. Bros might call themselves Bromosapiens. (Now you know what they’re doing alone up there in their rooms all night: Making this stuff up, or at least figuring it out.)

A Youtube video popular among the younger set can be found by googling “bro rape.” Because as an old person I find it dumb and offensive — though I suspect I’d feel that way even if I were 22 — I’ll leave you to ferret it out for yourself.

For Live Bro Action, I prefer to direct you to this clip of actual Bros onstage, helping the band Pennywise sing the “Bro Hymn”:

In contrast, here is singer Angie Stone with a woman’s view of Brothahood:


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2 responses to “#61: Know The Difference Between A Brotha and A Bro

  1. In Santa Cruz, “bros” are surfers or tree sitters.

  2. jaredfix

    I have to say, I love the humor of your blog! =) I enjoyed reading the entries, but with this post, I must respectfully disagree with your definition of a West Coast Bro as a “truck driving, beer-chugging buckaroo.” (Great image, but not quite right unless maybe it applies to the North West.)

    My son (and his friends) are part of that particular Bro subculture in the Los Angeles/Orange County/Riverside/San Diego area. Their style is far from what you described. The majority of the guys are heavily inked with tattoos, often have shaved heads, and dress in black: baggy jeans or Dickies pants or long shorts and wear t-shirts from companies like Hostility, 187 Inc, Hitman Fight Gear, etc. They listen to bands like the Kottonmouth Kings. They love UFC as a sport (and several of the UFC fighters are Bros). And their Bro Hos look like mini strippers. If you want a peek at some pics that sum it all up, go to: http://www.myspace.com/jaredsphotography

    Thankfully, my son is the one who looks least like he needs a good scrubbing and an STD test.

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