Their bond, your words. Donald and also Melania Trump in ~ the Republican nationwide Convention ~ above Monday in Cleveland.

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When Melania trump card graced the podium in Cleveland ~ above Monday night, she yielded lines that sounded eerily reminiscent of Michelle Obama’s address eight year before. Among those lines: “From a young age, my parents impressed top top me the worths that friend work difficult for what you desire in life. The your indigenous is your bond. And also you carry out what friend say and also keep your promise.”

And this is Obama in 2008: “And Barack and I were elevated with so many of the same values: the you work difficult for what you desire in life; the your indigenous is her bond, the you perform what you to speak you’re going come do.”


The expression your word is her bond” has actually roots in black color America, v a affluent hip-hop history. The internet agreement seems to be the Trump’s use of the slogan is an apparent “tell”—a clueless bit of parroting from a Slovenian immigrant that would never organically discover her means to those words.


Of course, word-bond equivalence—the idea the it, if no the an exact phrasing deployed by Trump and also Obama—reaches earlier centuries. The publications of Matthew and also Numbers both contain passages in i m sorry one’s talked vow i do not care a sacred commitment. In Numbers, the Hebrew elder Moshe instructs the people of Israel: “When a man … swears one oath to bind his soul with a bond, the shall not break his word; that shall carry out according come all the proceeds out of his mouth.” Chaucer, too, punned on the idea the “trouthe”—to “pledge one’s trouthe” expected both to go into into one indissoluble contract and to affirm the semantic “truth” of the native manifesting the contract. The Bishop the Exeter, Joseph Hall, created in 1608 of “the moral man”: “His indigenous is his parchment.”


According to Rachael Ferguson, an ethnographer and also lecturer at Princeton University, the rule “word is bond” allowed vendor traders in the so late 1500s to do agreements legally binding before the development of composed pledges. As soon as the London share Exchange needed a motto in 1801, that harkened ago to that foundational promise of integrity through a Latin expression: dictum meum pactum.

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By the 19th century, your native is her bond” had actually ascended into the realms of moralistic cliché. In an 1842 “admonitory epistle from a governess to she late pupils,” because that instance, the upstanding educator drills she charges: “Let that be said of you, ‘Your indigenous is her bond.’ ”

But to utter this phrase in the 2016 United says is come invoke an entirely various history. As Geneva Smitherman recounts in Black Talk: Words and also Phrases indigenous the Hood to the Amen Corner, yo word is yo bond to represent a “resurfacing of one old acquainted saying in the Black oral Tradition.” It was popularized part time after 1964 by the five Percent Nation, one Islamic team that emphasize authenticity and also self-knowledge alongside society progressivism. (The affirmation Word is born—a solution kind of like Amen that indicates enthusiastic buy-in; also a run DMC song—is thought to it is in a “result of the AAE joint of ‘bond,’ ” write Smitherman.)


The five Percenters left a deep imprint on hip-hop—and the blogger Patrick has actually a great, thorough rundown of the cross-pollination between them and rappers favor Busta Rhymes and also Q-Tip. Jamaican-born lab pioneer Kool Herc enlisted members that FPN in his defense team. Emcee Rakim, of the golden age duo Eric B. And also Rakim, released a song with the lyrics: “Turn up the bass and also let the device thump / A block party starts come form, world start to swarm / Loud as a ghetto blaster, word is bond.” The phrase soon wended its way toward shibboleth standing in the rhymes of artist from big Daddy Kane (“And i’m lovin’ em right, indigenous is bond”) to LL Cool J (“I carry out it for you, word is bond.”) as Patrick explains, height word is bond arrived with the Wu-Tang Clan. The team consciously and deliberately threaded message from the 5 Percent Nation—and the partly overlapping Zulu Nation—into your work. In “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit,” for example, RZA sums it up: “Peace come the fuckin Zulu country / peace to all the Gods and also the Earths, native is bond.”

So as soon as Michelle Obama called convention-goers the her indigenous was her bond, she to be both retrieving a powerful saw indigenous the honest canon and, perhaps, signifying to black listeners. Once Melania trump stole her language, she signified too: the she was clueless, sure, however in the signature American way of a white woman who takes from a black color woman without any kind of real sense of what she’s talking about.