This paper is birthed from my lifelong experiences as student, teacher, administrator, and researcher in urban science classrooms. This includes my years as a minority student in biology, chemistry, and physics classrooms, 10 tears as science teacher and high school science department chair, 5-years conducting research on youth experiences in urban science classrooms, and current work in preparing science teachers for teaching in urban schools. These experiences afford me both emic and etic lenses through which to view urban science classrooms and urban youth communities. This paper, both experiential and research based, forms an ethnography of urban youth communication and introduces the science education community to an aspect of science teaching that has been overlooked in traditional science education research. In documenting urban youth communication across social fields, this paper contributes to the research in science education that addresses science talk with urban youth in science classrooms (C. Ballenger, 1997; P. Gee, 1997). More specifically, I utilize the lenses I bring to urban science education research to interrogate the larger research questions of whether urban students' modes of communication are supported in the urban science classroom and the effects of this support or lack thereof on true participation/engagement of urban youth in science. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed95: 1–20, 2011