Monday, June 26, 2006
Talking like a White Person
As a teen advocate it burns me up when I hear teenagers say that they use poor grammar and speak using Ebonics because they do not want to be accused of "acting and sounding white". I do know that too many of our children are falling into this silly situation. I do understand on one hand because I was young once and I won't lie and pretend that I didn't get caught up in that too as a teen. When you are young, it is important to be accepted and to be seen as "cool, fire, bad or whatever they call it today and not that dreaded word- nerd.
I was always accused of talking like a white person. So at the age of 13 I relaxed my usage of speaking correctly. Heck even adults teased me. So I did what they felt comfortable with, I spoke like some of them.
As I matured, I found it stupid to pretend to represent myself a certain way. I learned that if I wanted to be accepted by others I had to accept me first. So I learned how to speak with my friends in one way and with teachers and other adults the proper way, never truly speaking Ebonics though.
Now as an adult, kids always say you speak like a white person, and they say it like it is a curse. So I ask, "How does a white person speak?"
Here are the Reponses:
* out of their noses
* high pitched
* pronouncing words funny
* Over pronounciatiation of words
* adding too many emotions
* using words that are nerdy, etc.
This does not make sense to me as an adult. So when I meet with teens I talk about putting their best foot forward and being the best that they can be in this life. I also explain the difference in speaking Ebonics and standard correct English and how the latter one will help them obtain jobs, etc.
African American teens already have enough problems in seeking employment and moving forward productively in life and they certainly don't need to add anything else to their already stacked list of problems.
What do you think about this?