As posted to the United Front-Civil Rights Organization:
posted by Lex Scott
When white people or teenagers in general use it, they are still using AAVE (African American Vernacular English). It’s not only used by African Americans anymore, since our culture is mixed, and (especially suburban teenage male) whites were sold Black culture in pop culture (namely hip hop in the late 80s), and people who are not Black/African American feel a right to co-opt it. Also, I think since AAVE is an American dialect, Americans in general (of all colors and creeds) might use it sometimes, in certain settings–whether an authentic way they learned to talk or not, a later adopted dialect. I agree it can make people “sound ‘uneducated,'” but that’s because of race (and class) hegemony pushing whiteness=rightness in education.
The responses to the original anonymous Tumblr post point out that there is a grammar system–I think it’s also called a pattern of syntax–at play in “You [delete to-be conjugation] + article + noun object-of-sentence” or “You [delete to-be conjugation] + adjective.” And that, in fact, it *matches* the grammatical system (or pattern of syntax?) of Standard American English (SAE), or “proper” English.
Of course in actual life, in reality, at a job interview or in a professional situation, yeah, it sounds uneducated or is considered unprofessional–but that’s because the Anglo dialect (SAE) is the one given clout…by the clout-givers, generally the traditionally dominant culture, aka the culture of the group that violently dominated historically and continues to by all that historical privilege and advantage in the professional realms. In this country and culture’s case, often only when the original inventors and speakers of AAVE hold power in those realms, have staked a claim to clout, do current African American, and Brown People of Color speakers of AAVE pass the gate-keeping official and unofficial tests, prescribed and informal interviews and networking interactions, and algorithms of professions and professional climbing. It’s also why AAVE is termed a “vernacular,” language spoken in daily life, colloquially.
African American Vernacular dialect functions with the same if not more complexity as Standard American English.**
See, even though AAVE (and other dialects) actually have grammar or syntax patterns = rules…they’re devalued simply because they’re not the norm (SAE) that white Americans developed for English, by natural random language evolution and on purpose, especially for education and for professional speaking.
Ask yourself: How does it sound when someone speaks with a British cockney accent? Educated or uneducated?
If you are a person who’s not African American and/or did not learn to speak AAVE growing up, do you ever say phrases like, “Where you going?” or even “Where ya going?” These also omit the “are,” the to-be conjugation (though I don’t know if it is happening in the same way linguistically!).
And would you say this, would you speak like this in a job interview or in a professional setting? More importantly, especially if you are a white person in a position of hiring or recommending power, can you accept copula deletion just as you would copula contraction? ^^
**African American vernacular dialect functions with the same if not more complexity as Standard American English:
Because English is largely lacking in the subjunctive and other general or what-if verb tenses (cases? Linguists please help me out here!), or doesn’t have a different-sounding word or verb conjugation for the subjunctive or a certain verb tense, Africans who were brought here retained these tenses from their African languages. For instance, saying “She be…” + adjective or + -ing verb, using the infinitive auxiliary, or helping, verb is actually from Yoruba tribe language structure! And from some other African languages, if I remember right what I’ve learned. And it’s a structure **more complex** than that of English! It makes for an additional verb tense. English is missing this kind of verb tense and murky with others: for instance, describing a chronological spot on a timeline that’s distinctly in the present but also a lasting, though undefined, length or range–so when Africans from many different tribes were learning English, suddenly forcibly put into English-speaking American environments as slaves, people or a single person from one tribe mixed up with people from all different tribes who spoke different languages, and communicating, especially learning some English was a matter of life and death, these verb tenses / sentence structures stuck around! The African language infusions clarify the English or add to it.
(Linguists, please correct, if the infinitive in “pronoun + infinitive” structure is not an infinitive auxiliary!)
^^…What if in your job, and maybe in your life in all aspects, you never have to use “professional” speak…? When African Americans and other People of Color (and poor whites and light-skinned people, namely the Irish, before the category of “white” became so omnipresent as the norm) were kept out of “professional” jobs and business and life, there was no need to learn or adapt to “professional” English of the dominant educated class/race/group. In that sense, of course it is just as “professional” to use whatever dialect you speak–or even a different language, a “creole,” or what’s called a “pidgin” (mixture of two languages into a business/commerce dialect). If you *were* a business person of the year 18-something-or-other or the early 1900s, say, a butcher and maybe even owner of a butcher shop, and you, say, talk to a German to get lamb and to a Jewish Rabbi who speaks Hebrew to get Kosher meat and to first-generation Italian immigrants and Irish immigrants, etc., would you speak perfect King’s English or Standard American English of the time ? If you were an African American who until segregation mostly interacted for business only with other African American people, except maybe sometimes with other usually ghetto-ized People of Color and/or a few poor white people, often immigrant light-skinned people…wouldn’t the dialect would serve you just fine, including in your profession?
“Cops Beat & Kidnap 12-yo Girl in Front of her Home, Claiming She was a Prostitute” (Story: http://bit.ly/1BE3j1F) Response
#doyougetityet They always do this: Involved officers charge their victim with assault and/or interfering with official acts, in order to cover up their crime and violence and to make the person, or, here, her family, being that she is a young minor, go through and be stuck in a difficult, time-consuming, financially devastating, mentally and emotionally burdensome and even traumatic court case to “distract” her/them from being able to speak up about what was done to herself or themselves as victims (on top of, of course, going through the physical pain often to the point of medical injury, hospitalization, and/or continuous or permanent physical pain or limitation in the first place, and mental anguish also caused by the violence). It deters focus, and legal focus, from and uses up resources needed for dealing with the actual victimhood, violence and/or injury, It is a COMMON LEGAL STRATEGY, initiated as protocol at the time of “incident,” i.e. victimization by officers or within the time frame of finishing and filing reports and charges.
Keep in mind a pending case is limiting in itself to the point of functionally injurious, often with long-lasting or permanent effect. While the case against the 12-year-old or any such victim is ongoing, her or her family’s or any victim’s legal record prominently reads “pending case” of “pending charge,” and no matter the circumstance or physical violence she or her family or someone is suffering as a victim, and no matter how obvious to the common person or professional those physical injuries, the victimization, the absurdity of the situation, socially, professionally, and legally one is with pox, rights nixed, opportunities beaten away too by the baton and legal follow-up. …Including for some representation: attorneys, firms, Bar Association referral program participants, some legal aid (including actual area Legal Aid organizations or free or reduced-cost lawyers [legal advice providers] or attorneys [who represent in court]), or that rarity, pro-bono retaining,…are no longer an option for the victim; all of the above professionals, type of organization/agency, and lawyers normally participating in such programs or retaining arrangements…often won’t touch such a case with a ten foot pole. #doyougetityet
on getting your car fixed / car mechanics
One time I asked an artist mentor in Burque who’d briefly been a mechanic to recommend one for me, in part so I wouldn’t get ripped off being (seen as) female. He did, and they proceeded to completely rip me off. He explained that he liked that mechanic because he believed them to be trustworthy and they’d done good work for him and friends for a decade, so he was offering to go *with* me to their garage…because otherwise of course, being (seen as) female, they’d rip me off. I tried to let him know that not only was this counter to what I was looking for, but that knowing this, I was astounded that he could possibly see them as a good business, continue to use them, and have done so for so long.
Though it may not be the case, this could be a part of what’s going on for you. Asking local females which mechanic they trust can help find an actual non-discriminating good shop. If this is not the case, and mechanics are trying to pull one over on you just like they would on anyone else, it still proves their sketch factor, and you can still get a good recommendation by asking such friends and nerdy or hipster-looking folks mechanics think they can get a lot of dough from on account of their assumed lack of car savvy. When my friends and the locals really did possess only a minimal body of vehicular knowledge, I’d compare their recommendations to those of someone who I knew was mechanically savvy about cars to make sure the engine-disoriented people weren’t getting the wool pulled over their four-square-dark-rimmed glasses.
If you’re not having luck for lower cost, mechanics in some states charge minimum or fixed amounts for labor. Some people I know and myself just bought the part and did a lot of YouTube DIY work on the car.
My mother doesn’t really have any friends. It makes me so sad.
She’s always just been raising children, then working, and working and working and working, and never had any money to go out and do anything. And middle class people just look down on it, don’t understand at all a life of taking the bus home, of never, literally NEVER being able to go to a movie late, because there aren’t any buses when it’s over, and a cab is too expensive, it’s not worth it, especially after shelling out for a movie.
That’s how her whole life is, ALL of life. It’s not just like, “oh, it’s kinda expensive,” it’s like, you just *never* get to do anything like that. So she just never does anything on Sunday. Cause there are no buses. Anyplace she ever went on Sunday, ever, she walked to.
She never goes out on Saturday night, because she could not get home, because the buses stop at 6:30pm on Saturday.
So–if you’ve been raising 3 children as a single mother, on $400 a month, for 15 years
how are you gonna get started meeting people to make friends, with limitations like you can just never go out on Saturday night or all day Sunday, period.
(Sunday unless it is close enough and/or the weather is not too hot and not too cold and not too windy and you don’t have to carry a lot, cause you’ll have to walk back.)
I’m afraid that you would just never be seen with us; you would just be totally humiliated to even be seen with us.
When i go “shopping with my mother” last night–we go to Goodwill.
We take a bus, that we have to wait 45 minutes for, then walk some, in the poor neighborhood (that i grew up in and my mother lived in until June)
then we skimp and scrounge because my mother *does not even buy full price clothes at Goodwill* without budgeting and worry and regret; she has a limit, and very often refuses to buy anything that’s not the half-price sale color tag.
We are both wearing a knapsack, chock full of whatever we had to carry that day–an extra sweater or jacket, a flashlight for *walking* home when it’s dark, an umbrella, plastic containers and baggies from carrying lunch with you. And we are also each carrying another bag, also from whatever we had to carry that day: my mother also has her purse from work, like a “normal” female coming from work.
So, we walk around in our bulky coats to protect from the cold and wind, since it’s fall now, and our knapsacks, and i’m so happy to be wearing the purple striped cloth backpack you got me. And we’re wearing hats and scarves before anybody around is, that is, before in the season or time of year, because they all are only out walking from their fucking cars to the door of the store, 50 feet through the parking lot, and it hardly even affects them whether it’s 60 degrees and sunny or 40 degrees and a little windy. They do things like “toss a hoodie into the backseat of the car”
whereas our entire regimen changes, and the amount that you’re carrying
And we also have to think of WHAT ELSE WE NEED TO WEAR AND CARRY for
FOR WHEN IT GETS DARK AND COLDER
because we will still be out that late, to get home, taking the bus.
My entire life except for the one year i drove with my rich bitch daddy’s girl ex-girlfriend, I have lived like that
… by the time I finally get home after taking two buses in the cold, and now it’s dark, and I had to walk home from the bus stop or to the bus stop a quarter of a mile from wherever i was, and therefore had to bring with me a flashlight and an extra sweater, and a scarf and a hat and an umbrella since they said there’s a 40% chance of rain. . .
by the time i get home– you have been home an hour and a half
taken a shower
started your homework /
watched a tv show
It is 9:30pm.
I am just getting home
from the activity or store that I went to at 5:30pm.
But you went there right after school, at 4pm.
For 20 minutes of shopping, or turning in some paperwork form to a business or office, I have to leave at 2:30pm to catch a bus at 2:48pm
then i get dowtown (bus interchange) at 3:15pm
and the next bus, the bus i have to transfer to, doesn’t come until 4pm
so I have to wait downtown.
And, i have to wait doing nothing, because i don’t have any money to do anything. I can’t go to a cafe, because it costs money to spend $4 just for waiting for the bus, on a drink.
So–you’d better make sure you have a book to read with you! Something else to carry.
And you just sit there, with all the middle school kids from the Black neighborhood.
Then the bus finally comes, at 4pm, and it gets to where I need to go at 4:21pm.
I have to RUSHHH from the bus stop to make sure i get there, in the door before 4:30 pm, when they *close early to avoid rush hour traffic*
Then when I turn in the paperwork, I take it out of my backpack–which the snooty lady behind the desk in high fucking heels in the middle of winter scowls at because it’s considered unprofessional–
and when i take the paperwork out of my backpack, some liquid slime from my lunch that i am also carrying, and have been carrying walking around bouncing around all day in my backpack…. has leaked onto the folder, and it smells like sour tuna fish.
The lady behind the counter wrinkles her nose into a pucker tighter than a WASP’s asshole, and says, down her nose, “Don’t get that on our counter!”
So, I have to let the folder drip onto their floor, take out my paperwork, and hand it to her. She says, “Oh, a such and such form. Let me see if Larry’s still in, he processes these–he usually gets them from the mail room.”
Then she turns and asks someone else, Did the mail room intern ever bring the batch to Larry?
She turns to me and says, You should’ve just mailed it.
I look down at the piece of paper in my hand. In bold letters on the top the instructions remain the same as they did when I received the form: MONEY ORDERS MUST BE HAND DELIVERED. “But it says it has to be turned in in person…” I tell her, my face becoming a little knotted in confusion, and ….
trying not to let it be visible how my stomach is also turning and twisting into knots and my ears turning hot.
“Oh, no no no nonono, that’s just what it says on there,” she says. Then she tosses her head back and forth like she were trying to burrow her nose farther into Charlton Heston’s behind.