Thursday, November 20, 2003

Time Trial 11.20.03

This is a comment on another person’s blog, a person who shall remain URL-less, after Gully asked me what I think of her use/ questioning of terms for people of the African diaspora (I would guess); she asked about using “Black” and “African-American” in her post.

A piece:“I'm somewhat fascinated by the interjections some people can get away with using. if I added "mm!" or anything like it to the end of my sentences, I would sound like a fool. is that because I'm white, or because I'm young? or is it something else altogether, like my hyperliterate eastcoast speech patterns? maybe it's just because I don't have a cool grey suit?”

plus the question: “someone tell me once and for all, am I allowed to say this? Is African-American better or does it sound hopelessly PC-pretentious?

{the block parens [] are for comments added for clarification after the email was sent to Gully.}

which of BLOGPERSON's questions are we talking about? [she can't say "mm?" that's not] because she doesn't have a cool grey [Amtrak] suit. her “hyper literate east coast patterns” comment [simply] borders on pandering and egocentrism and pretentiousness. note, of course, this is me and this is where i run afoul of some people, i see these problems/ issues where they do not, so this should all be taken with a grain of salt. blaming something on being young is certainly, by the way, more valid than blaming it on something as wide and vanilla (so to speak) as race. f*cking come on. people are not that simple.

as for her pop-up question, hm. i hate being pandered to, so african american is silly. but. again, grain of salt. personally, when crackers are talking, and i don't at all mean all white people but i mean people who obviously have very surface interactions with other people not only black folk (i call myself black. i ain't never been to africa. you're more african american than i am, gully), then they can signify themselves by calling black folk “african-american.” i think black is much better. and i think when you get to the point of having to ask, anything you say might be misconstrued.

i think it's insulting to always have to be described; sometimes it's okay, sometimes it's necessary, but don't you think it's a little goofy to always be the outside option? that one AFRICAN-AMERICAN. that one BLACK FRIEND. perhaps i have my own "thing" but i think it sucks to always be marginalized in print and in person, and to have all other people assumed to be white until proven otherwise. i like to not know their race. i'm not so different than anyone else.

i suppose if BLOGPERSON is pointing out the way someone talks, or the clothes they wear, you can certainly point to their subculture more accurately. one can fall back on their race; i think "black accent" or "black/ ghetto/ urban" wear is a misnomer but it's understood, for example. note, again, i am a big fan of controlling our language a little better. though... now that i think about it, there is a fine line between being a responsible talked and erasing everyone's ethnicity; that's important too. this should not be a color-blind world, it has lots of color, and our cultures make us strong, interesting, and even funny. and variations of white are color too. i prefer to hear "that italian kid" next to "that black kid" and "that preppy east coast girl," i can certainly deal with that those archetypes because they're not posited as the many against the fractured dusky masses.

that's a rant. i know.

but if someone is going to describe a woman as “cheerily bossy,” and put black on it i might suggest that they simply say nothing; i don't see the point in pointing out the difference. black is a visual, a color, of a train conductor she probably never saw, a voice on a loudspeaker. i guess BLOGPERSON wants us to see some sort of nanny-esque, aunt hattie from gone with the wind image, [I know, that’s reading into it—how about a “sassy momma image?” that might be better, especially in light of this blog’s comment about being treated like “disobedient children.”] which is fine. she can describe it as “nanny-esque,” in fact. i'm not a kitchen cleanser commercial and i don't talk [cheerily bossy] and neither does my mother and i think we are both black. that's what we put on the census.

also note that despite the tone i don't think that question is annoying especially from friends and double especial from good friends. i just want to spell out my line of thinking because it is not necessarily intuitive to some people. and anyway, this is just a tale about her trip home, really. right?


No comments: