I'm not sure if it was up here already or not.
By: Dréquan Taylor & Chelsea J. Smith
What Did You say
“Yo Dré those ya sneaks?” I said
“Yea bruh those mine” he replied
“Ayee these jawns tough”
“Yeaa these the new one’s”
“ardd that’s wats up.”
Since I was 11 years old I have been going to Orlando, Florida every summer. I usually stayed there for most of the summer and came back just before school started back up again. Every year I would go down there I would adjust to the different words they used down there, that I didn't use when I was in Philadelphia. The first few times I went to Florida with them, I would get lost with the words they were saying, because I was not used to them, I didn't know what they meant, or what they actually said sometimes. When I would come back to Philly and use the words that I had heard and learned in Florida people would look at me strange and ask me "what did I say?" or they would be like "what is that?" It was like when I was in Florida they would not understand some of the things I would be saying and when I left Florida the people in Philly would not understand everything I was saying. Last year when I was in Florida My god brother, his friends, and I were playing Mortal Kombat. I was playing, and I was trying to do combos so I could charge up my special move for the boss. The boss came and I had three bars filled and I thought that was enough for the special I wanted to use, but I needed four and I didn't know that until I tried to hit the special button, and a message popped and it said I needed four. While I was playing I was said "oh dang I didn't know you needed four of them jawns" Then I asked them "Did you know you needed four of them jawns?" They all immediately looked at me and said “what did you say?” “This the second time you said that today.” “What are you saying john?” We went on for a while about what I was saying and what I meant when I said it. The crazy thing is my dad had called me later on that day, and I had him on speaker-phone. He was asking me a question about madden, and he said the word jawn as well and they were all said “what?” with that confused look on their faces like I know he didn’t just say that.
In the story “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What is?” by James Baldwin there are a few things that he says that catches my attention my attention and makes me think. I do like one particular quote that he used in his paper. He said “ It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: it reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.” I believe that there is a deeper understanding to this quote, and I believe that the deeper understanding is that the way you speak(how you pronounce your words, and the way you say them) affects how you are viewed. It also says that the way you “speak” affects how much power you are given & your identity. They way a person speaks is a main way people assume your race or judge you. F.e if I were to call up a business office trying to set up a date for an interview speaking “black English” or slang instead of formal/proper English there would be a few different things that the person im talking to on the phone would be thinking. One he probably wouldn’t want to even set up an interview with me because of the way I talk, and there is a great possibility that he assumes that im black because I use slang, and not pronounce all of my letters. Everything we say comes down ultimately to what we are saying and how we say it.
To me this quote means that our voice and speech is more powerful than we know. The thing humans are most judged by besides there skin color is their speech and the way they talk. I think that the way a person talks has a great influence on much how much power or respect that they are seen to have in life and society. A person with a speech impairment has a lot less likely chance of getting a job such as being the president of the United States than a person who speaks formal/proper English. Language can be the most powerful tool a person can have that they can not necessarily control in a lot of cases.