By Demetrius D. Walker
Tuesday a good friend of mine asked me to speak to her 8 year old daughter about an issue in which I am quite familiar. For the entire semester, her oldest child has been pleading with her for a transfer to a new school. Apparently the young lady is being badgered and teased on a daily basis. It's no secret that bullies tend to pick on those with obvious differences - the skinny kid, the overweight girl, or the guy that stutters. Unfortunately, in this instance, and across Black America, "talking white" can be added to the list of subjects that trigger harassment.
Somewhere in the last 3 decades, the usage of slang, ignorant language, and/or Ebonics became exclusively associated with being Black. Was this the end product of the 1970s blaxploitation films? Or could it be the direct result of Hip Hop's emergence on the urban landscape? I would truly have to do more research to get to the bottom of this issue. Whatever the origin, it gravely concerns me that our youth are brought up with the expectation that they should avoid scholarly behavior and rhetoric in order to be considered authentically Black.
The mentality that proper sentence structure and words with more than two syllables are exclusively reserved for Caucasians is more than troubling. This thinking perpetuates a cycle of ignorance that compels Black youth to find comfort in underachieving. Growing up, I would listen to all the "cool" kids brag about how many absences they had and how many classes they either failed or were close to failing. In order not to create a spectacle of name calling, or worse, physical assault, I did my best to conceal my report card and deny receiving commendable grades. As well, I even made sure to incorporate improper grammar, foul language, and the latest slang to assimilate to my inner city public school environment. Occasionally a bully would wrestle the stiff piece of paper out of my clutches and discover that "yo this ni**a is a nerd!" While these experiences forced me to develop thick skin and a sense of humor (to distract the ig'nant folk that could obviously dish out a ghetto shellacking), it's quite sad that I and many Black adolescents had to live in fear of being considered "too" intelligent.
In the age of Obama, the destruction of degenerate Black mentalities is essential to the reversal of our race's misfortunes. The longer we associate "talking white" with being inferior, the farther we will fall behind our White, Asian, and other counterparts. Black parents, encourage your children to speak properly. Make them take pride in being Young. Gifted. Black. College students, graduates, and scholars make it your duty to mentor at least 1 elementary, middle, or high school student. Be America's Next Top Role Model for them. Professionals, take time out of your schedules to do what Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck asked in '93s C.R.E.A.M and "kick the truth to the young, black youth." Certainly scholarship was involved in you arriving at your destination - prove to them that Smart Is REALLY The New Gangsta.
Although the following video is humorous, it has a message. Wayne Brady is notoriously associated with "talking white." In this clip he goes out of his way to prove his "Blackness." I love this clip because it shows how silly it is to assume that you can prejudge a person's "Blackness" by the way he or she talks. I'll tackle the whole issue of "Blackness" in another article. In the meantime enjoy!