you a bitch
It’s called copula deletion, or zero copula. Many languages and dialects, including Ancient Greek and Russian, delete the copula (the verb to be) when the context is obvious.
So an utterance like “you a bitch” in AAVE is not an example of a misused you, but an example of a sentence that deletes the copular verb (are), which is a perfectly valid thing to do in that dialect, just as deleting an /r/ after a vowel is a perfectly valid thing to do in an upper-class British dialect.
What’s more, it’s been shown that copula deletion occurs in AAVE exactly in those contexts where copula contraction occurs in so-called “Standard American English.” That is, the basic sentence “You are great” can become “You’re great” in SAE and “You great” in AAVE, but “I know who you are” cannot become “I know who you’re” in SAE, and according to reports, neither can you get “I know who you” in AAVE.
In other words, AAVE is a set of grammatical rules just as complex and systematic as SAE, and the widespread belief that it is not is nothing more than yet another manifestation of deeply internalized racism.
i would also like to point out that William Labov’s The Logic of Nonstandard English was published in 1969 (a shorter version was published in The Atlantic in 1972, which is a little easier to read than the scanned pdf). he talks specifically about copula deletion, as well as interpersonal factors that affect how black kids interact with white authority figures (since he was interested in how this affects education and ‘intelligence’).
basically, we’ve known that AAVE is perfectly grammatical and in no way inferior to SAE for almost half a century, yet so many white people still don’t understand how different populations develop different grammars. wow.
The difference between Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane is that, to me, Mary Jane fell in love with Spider-Man…
-- Reasons Why Gwen Stacy Will Always Be Better Than Mary Jane Watson (via cyberqueer)