19 January 2009

barack obama and the end of acting white

wst... note: we've been reading gunfighter's blog for a couple of years. he is a policeman in the washington, d.c. area. he is a bit liberal, ok a lot liberal and we seldom agree with any of his positions -- however, he always provides heartfelt, honest, thought provoking essays which of course, appeals to our romanticism.

"Who do you think you are?"

"You talk like a white boy!"




"You think you're better than us!"


I am 45 years old. It's been at least 28 years since the things that I wrote above were last said to me... to my face, anyway. It still smarts when I bother to think about it, which I seldom do... but it's been there, all these years, a very personal source of pain. A lifetime of barbs and insults, all because of the way I talk.

For generations, it has always been desirable in the black community, as it has all over America, to get all the education that you can. Education has always been seen as the way to improve not only your economic condition, but your social position as well.

Since emancipation, this had been seen as a great thing in the black community. The thought had always been, that if your children got an education and learned to speak English correctly, perhaps they could enter a trade or one of the professions. It was certainly so for my mother's parent's (a professor and a Nurse)... it was so for my parents.

Then something changed.
I'll close by giving a special shout-out to those family members, fellow students, colleagues, black pundits and civil rights leaders, journalists, and others who have tormented or criticized any black person about speaking standard English. You need to hear this, from me, to you... ~ read more
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