In our english classes recently, we have been discussing different ways people use language and how language effects people. In my paper and video below it shows how language changed me and how langanguge has the ability to change people also.
Torn Between the Two
Going from being placed in a community where there is no diversity to a community where your family members are the ones who are diverse is very difficult. In order to make sure that everybody is comfortable, there were some changes I had to make to my tongue. I couldn't say racial slurs that I would normally say when I was around a group of people that are just like me. I couldn't make jokes about other different groups ethnicities. I am stuck in place where I find myself having to change they way I talk around my immediate family and the way I talk around my general family.
“I can’t stand white people,” or “These damn crackers don't belong on this Earth” are common terms that you would hear coming out of the mouths of my immediate family, without knowing that these racial slurs could easily offended someone of the race being spoken about. I notice what is being said but I do not speak about it because it is something that I have grew up on. These types of racial slurs were normal in my house, besides the people who were being spoke about were not near so why did it matter, was what I always thought. My immediate family and I would talk about anyone who were not like us, black of course, when we indeed had people in our family who were of another race.
My cousin Alexander would always visit us. She was nothing like us. She was a tall white kid that lived in the suburbs with her tall white dad and his wife. Her mom was my aunt making her related to us but she still looked nothing like us. She was nothing like us, but the fact that she was my blood we had no choice but to accept her.
Alexander and I would always sit down and watch tv every since we were younger. While she would shout at a basketball game when somebody did a crazy move I would shout at the tv when a clothing commercial came on “Why the fuck they always putting these boney ass white bitches on tv,” or “I’m tired of seeing these white bitches, they look like walking ghosts.” Looking at my cousin, I would notice her glancing at me and I would try to cover up my bad words of choices with phrase that went like “I’m not talking about you , you know I love you cous” or “I'm just playing, I just want to see some chocolate jawns like me up there ” knowing deep down in the inside that I had hurt her feelings. Its clear that I had struggled with changing the way I spoke around different types of people. Although I didn't intentionally try and hurt her I had did so. It was time I learned how to change my tongue when around people other than my immediate family.
When I would hear my family talk about other groups of people, I would tell myself not to engage and for the first few weeks I had meet my challenge. When my cousin Alexander would come around I stopped myself from saying racial slurs around her, I had even eliminated them out of my vocabulary completely. I really felt as if I had changed my tongue.
I found a new way of speaking, I found a new voice. Instead of insulting an entire race or insulting anyone at all I made suggestions. I went from ““Why the fuck they always putting these boney ass white bitches on tv?” to “I would prefer if I saw more black women.” I didn't have to try and code switch my voices when I was placed in different environments because I spoke in a way that was comfortable for everyone.
People who have noticed the change in my speech would say that I'm changing who I am to be accepted or that I'm trying to be something that I am not. I would have to say otherwise. I have rearranged the way I use my tongue so that I am able to communicate with any and everyone. I am no longer a prisoner of language to the point where I say something at the the wrong time around the wrong people. Now when I am around or communicating with people who are nothing like me, with people who are a different race than me it feels even more comfortable for me because I have learned that the way you speak and the words you say highly affect the amount of people you are able to have a successful conversation with or even develop a decent relationship with.