Sunday, February 24, 2008

When we get together

Oooh, I love me some beautiful days like today, guh.

Which brings me to my first topic of conversation: why is it fun for me and different groups of friends to imitate ebonics/African American Vernacular English. Why do white kids love to do this so much. I see it all the time with high schoolers. I do it all the time with my friends, some black friends, mostly white ones. Does this offend black people when they hear it? I definitely make it a point not to speak in this form of slang when black people are around. I can guess a few reasons that I and some other white kids like to do it:
  1. taking a little field trip outside of our own culture, also known as "slumming" without really having to leave a comfort zone. On the contrary, it fosters a comfort zone. This theory, I believe, could possibly be applied to white people liking hip hop.
  2. the need for some sort of nonstandard English usage to differentiate "serious time" and "fun time." Since the majority of white Americans don't have to do much code switching, the language we use in the workplace or classroom is the same we use with friends at a bar (give or take a couple billion expletives). If this is true, I am merely stealing another culture's version of codes.
  3. Speaking "another language" is fun and you don't have to work too hard for this one.
  4. Black/African American is the most prominent minority here and this dialect is heard a lot on the radio, tv, and in most pubic places. It might be completely different if I lived someplace where a different was widely represented. I imagine that if I lived in California or Texas, it might be Hispanic accents.
Regardless, I still feel like I am being racist or should not do this. But I can't seem to stop myself, especially when the people around me are doing it. I won't just up and say "I'm not a racist, but . . ." just because I hate those kinds of statements. Last night I heard a girl say "I'm not a feminist, but . . ." and I just wanted to say something to her.

Another thing that got me thinking about this was this site that my dad, of all people, sent to me.

I identify with so many of those, I stopped being amused and started wondering if I was really that predictable. But then aren't most cultures fairly predictable. Also, I think that site should be amended to say "what liberal white Americans like."

Now I leave you with a completely unrelated picture. And the promise that not all of my posts will be all fake intellectual.


Fermi said...

Oh my. What a post.

I think there is not racist and non-racist but rather degrees of racism as there are degrees of sexism and feminism. I also think that speaking ebonics is more racist than it is non-racist.

And Stuff White People Like(SWPL). What a blog. I do love my dogs, and that is on the list... but I think I love my dogs more than the majority of people love their dogs.

Other than that, the SWPK blog is a good stereotype of rich white culture. But I don't feel that it necessarily describes me.

Tino said...

I like the idea of racism being on a continuum.

Coming to terms with your own white privilege and your place in the world is an interesting/weird endeavor. And so completely important.