Not my usual subject matter but

I just read this interesting article about Ebonics. I’ve never thought about the subject much before because yay, white privilege!

TBH if I’d ever given it any thought, I would have assumed that Ebonics (or patois or any other variation of English that anyone speaks) has a consistent grammar to it. That part wasn’t a revelation to me. But the article and comments directly connecting the dots that the consistent grammar makes these things dialects, not just a stupid messing-up of English, kinda made a lightbulb go off on my brain. I’ve seen people dismiss black people who use lots of slang as stupid, and I’ve kind of internalized that. But languages grow and change and certain pockets of people will develop language in different directions than others and this is just a human thing that is totally unrelated to intelligence.

And ugh, the thought of being black and an actor and having to say lines written by clueless white folks trying to make the dialogue sound “black”. That would suuuuuck.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Not my usual subject matter but

  1. Amen to this. Reminds me of Master of None, that new Aziz Ansari series on Netflix. Aziz and a fellow Indian actor complain about Indian acting stereotypes and accents. White privilege, indeed.

  2. Weasel

    I read a similar article a while back; the thing that struck me at the time was that Ebonics went beyond ‘consistent but different’ by having ways to concisely express things that are just plain missing from regular English.

    So basically, introducing people with completely different linguistic heritage to an environment where they were forced to speak english resulted in them collectively going ‘dude, your language is broken, let us just add in these totally useful things’… and then getting mocked for it for a few centuries.

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