Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"You Don't Sound Black"

I never noticed that "I didn't sound black" until I went to college and my peers constantly pointed it out to me.

"You talk like a white girl," "Where are you from?” “We don't talk like that around here.”

After constantly hearing this, I remember thinking, "I don't sound black because I use proper English?" But with the ever present desire to fit in, I never acknowledged the comments. And sometimes felt embarrassed because I didn’t talk like everyone else. 

That was completely different from how I felt while growing up. Before college I loved my proper English. I would always (and to this day still) correct my parents’ mix of Spanish and English words. The English language and the pronunciation of it has always been a part of me.

Gone are those embarrassing days of college. I can no longer get caught up in what others have to say about me. Truth is, if they’re not criticizing the way I speak, it will be something else. People will always have something to say.

Regardless, I am very thankful that I can effortlessly and accurately express myself with words. And if others choose to label me as white because of how I speak, then that’s their own ignorance to deal with. 

On the flip side: Please understand that just because I speak a certain way, does not mean I can’t and “won’t” ever use slang. I can, and often do switch it up.  Whether it's slang on social media (because I'm only given a certain amount of characters), speaking with a Spanish accent to poke fun at/speak to my parents, or using slang simply because I like it… The bottom line is, it’s my choice.

Peace to these two ladies and all the others who understand how important language is. We shouldn’t be ashamed that we pronounce words correctly, or ashamed for choosing to speak with slang.

No comments :

Post a Comment