“I’m tired of hearing these comments because I always felt as if I failed to meet some level of “blackness” that society demanded from me. I never talked like the smooth, jive talking brotha on TV or the hard gangsta you’ve heard on every goddamn rap album. Since these mediums are typically used to fill in for the lack of life experience and interaction, a sampling error is created and now, EVERY black person must speak this way. Because this sampling error was used so frequently when I was younger, it made it much more difficult to be my own person and find my own voice, both literally and figuratively.
“Growing up, I was always told to speak properly so I’ll be able to get a job or go to college. On the other hand, social mores demanded I talk “black” which made me feel spectacularly fake. It took some growing up to do, but I’ve come to realize that there is no happy medium because being the best version of myself and not settling for mediocrity, which includes the way I talk, means I’m not going to please everyone.
“Despite what you many think, good and bad grammar is not synonymous with “white” or “black.” So, when you tell me that I sound “white” (speak properly!), what you’re really telling me is I’m desperately trying to be something that I am not, I’m not my own person and that I’ve failed to meet one of the cheap traits that you’ve collected and put into a box so that I may be easily categorized.”
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Photo credit: The Secular Barbershop