For the life of me I cannot understand why many American Blacks don’t care enough about themselves to better their education, which means learning to use Standard English. Blacks become defensive when their speech is made fun of, but when you say things like “I’m finsta go to the stow” and “Why’nt you ax her yo’self?” and “I’ma beat yo damn ass”, how do you expect others to take you seriously, especially if you’re striving for a job that deals with the public?
Why do some educated Blacks use Standard English at work, but revert to Ebonics or AAVE (African American Vernacular English) when at home and around other Blacks? I have never done this and I never will. I pride myself on speaking ‘proper’ English always. I even stopped using the words ‘ain’t’, ‘yonder’, and ‘y’all’ – mainly due to a teacher, a Black woman, who told the students who used the first word that it was improper. It irritates me when I hear grown people saying ‘dey’ rather than ‘they’ and ‘dis’ instead of ‘this’. It sounds as if they have a speech impediment.
“My name Deontae”, “Who yo mama be?”, and “He done gone already” does not sound good coming from someone who professes to have finished middle school, much less graduated from college! My maternal grandparents, bless their souls and may they rest in peace, were not well educated. It was how things were back in those dim dark days – my grandmother was born in Commerce, Georgia in 1913 and my grandfather in Sumter, South Carolina, They both had to drop out of school and go to work on a rich White man’s plantation as sharecroppers, working alongside other Blacks and Whites.
My grandfather had only a third grade education, and my grandmother went as far as the sixth grade. Their daughters – my late aunt, my still living aunt, and my mother – all finished high school, and my deceased aunt went to nursing school. She was well-educated and spoke the best of anyone in my family, so I emulated her when I was growing up. I was also inspired by television because I thought that I would grow up to become an actress (alas, I have zero talent in that area). English was my best subject in high school and math my most hated, so I tended to use ‘proper’ English even back then (and of course, I was always told that I ‘sounded White’ by other Blacks, or that I ‘sounded country’ or ‘sounded like I came from up North’ or whatever).
Blacks become incensed when others poke fun at their misuse of English, but I daresay the same goes for Whites who speak a so-called ‘dialect’, for I have seen all types of memes going around that showcase ‘hillbilly’ speech, ‘redneck’ dialect, and more. I have a profound dislike for thick New York City borough accents, for example. The nasally, whining tones of the people who speak with those accents, which sound uneducated, low class, blue collar, and very ignorant to me, just grate on my ears. I could never date or be married to a guy with that sort of voice because I would cringe every time he spoke. Same with Ebonics. Call me a Grammar Nazi, Speech Snob, or whatever. I don’t care.
I watch a lot of true crime shows, and one of my favorites is the reality show The First 48, The sad truth with that show is that most of the murders committed are by young Blacks, followed next by Latinos and then Whites, males in most instances. These are nearly always drug-related killings, though there have been some that were love triangles and robberies (usually by a drug-addicted perp). When the detectives interview witnesses, talk with the victims’ families, and interrogate the suspects, I get a big laugh at the expense of those people because the vast majority are ghetto/trailer trash, and it shows in the way they present themselves. I’d be embarrassed to sound that way on national TV.
Honestly, using Ebonics makes you sound dumb. That’s simply how it is – Whites who speak with thick regional accents sound the same, so don’t feel that you’re being slighted because you’re Black. I refuse to speak that way because I know better, and I’m not ‘acting’ or ‘talking’ White when I use the correct form of English. That’s just the way I am and if you don’t like it, stuff it. I don’t use AAVE and I won’t use AAVE because to me, only people with low IQs will use non-standard English as that’s how you come across when you speak AAVE, like an ignoramus who quit school after the 7th grade.