The Bechdel Test is a way of evaluating if a movie or film portrays women in a way that is sexist or characterized by gender stereotyping. In order for a movie or film to pass the bechdel test the movie must feature two women and they must talk to each other about a topic other than a man.
The Mako Mori Test is considered a media test which analyzes that have these different requirements:
At least one female character
She gets her own narrative arc
And it's not about supporting man's story
I think these test exist to show how women are represented and portrayed when during a film. Also when the different films do not pass these test it shows lack of diversity.
This 2013 film ¨Frozen¨ that is produced by Walt Disney which tells a story about a princesses who goes on a journey and gets into an ´icy´ situation. Anna and Elsa are the main characters in this film. They are both sisters and grow up to be really close. These two sisters must be separated in order for Elsa's ice powers to be hidden. Anna eventually meets her true love Hans and they fall in love. Elsa on the other hand, is having trouble controlling her powers and she decides to run away to the mountains. She began to accept her powers and began to ¨let it go¨ Considering the main factors of this movie, I believe that this movie passes the bechdel test because Anna and Elsa mainly talk about building a snowman, isolation, or going back home.
The test I would create would be called the BBT (black beauty test). In order for a film or movie to pass this test it has to include one African American couple that does not involve any abuse and stays together until the end of the movie. The reason I made my test like this is because I observe a lot of movies that have African American couples but the man is always abusing the women and they always end up happily ever after or separate.
A movie that would pass this BBT test would be the movie Barbershop. This movie is a popular comedy. The barbershop is owned by Calvin (Ice Cube) and it is a family business that his dad passed down to him. He thinks the barbershop is a waste of time so he decides that he wants to sell it to someone else. After awhile, he realizes that selling his father's barbershop wasn't in his best interest and he sees everything go downhill. Calvin has a son and a loving wife. Who is to say that couples don't argue and get into petty arguments because they do. But that shouldn't mean he can put his hands on her, which he didn't. They talked it out like a ´normal´ couple. So considering all of this, the movie Barbershop has passed the BBT test.
Yo soy Imani. Para contar mi historia personal no es tan fácil de explicar, por lo tanto, mi barrio hará fácil para mi. Yo vivo en el Noreste y no pienso mover. Llevo ocho años en mi barrio. Mi barrio es muy diverso, sin embargo hay más estadounidenses de blanco que cualquier otra raza. No hay muchos niños de mi edad que viven en mi barrio, aunque algunos de mis amigos viven cerca de mi. Problemas en mi comunidad son las políticas.
La historia del noreste comienza antes de la ley de consolidación de 1854. Pequeñas aldeas en el noreste a causa de con los pagos, sin embargo, tenían entre sí para apoyarse. Como nuestra historia , mi barrio tiene amor para todos. Una persona importante del noreste es Mary Disston, Ella fundó Tacony ( un lugar popular ubicado en el noreste).
Yo voy a pintar mi mural es muy importante para mi. Jugué con mis amigas cuando era joven alrededor de esta pared. Mi mural representa el amor compartido en la comunidad. Cuando era más joven solía jugar alrededor de esta pared con mis mejores amigas Jazzmine y Gail. Voy a pintar mi mural sobre el lateral de esta Walgreens edificio porque aquí es donde un montón de gente en mi comunidad. Mi mural tiene un fondo blanco, con gran corazón rojo en el medio. Aunque esto es básico, este mural simboliza mi barrio. El mensaje que quiero enviar mi comunidad es “está bien amar y ser amado por su comunidad”.El diseño de mi mural es muy relajado. No es demasiado mucho o demasiado poco. Personas que caminan por y ver mi mural pueden tomar diferentes formas, pero sin embargo obtener el punto de. Algo puede ser el arte, por tanto creo que mi pieza realiza el papel de arte público.
“Head down, look straight ahead. Earbuds in, volume off. Walk quickly, but with purpose. Don’t make eye contact unless you need to. Look behind you every few blocks, make sure you’re not being followed. Don’t be obvious.” These are the rules me and probably many other females live by when walking down the street by themselves. One of the most common street harassments are cat calls. When a male see’s a female in the street and says “yurrppp” or “shawty with the grey tights.” ,they think it’s cute but it’s honestly disrespectful and immature and some females take much more of an offense to it than others.
I remember one time I was coming home from work in the summer and I was wearing a loose and comfortable pink dress with my hair tied up in a bun. The sun was shining so bright, my face was glowing. I was happy, smiling and shining because I was finally off work about to go home and relax. I was approaching a group of loud guys and each of them had on all black. I was a bit intimidated, so I hurried and put my headphones in before I walked passed. I didn’t have time to put music on, so I was hoping they didn’t talk to me. As I was walking past, all I heard was “yo ma” from one of the guys, another one said, “Ayo! I know you heard my mans calling you.” I just kept walking and never looked back.
I’ve always wondered the purpose of catcalling aka street harassment and why guys do it. Do they do it because they actually want the female or to impress buddies of theirs or even both? Either one, in a female's eyes it makes you look thirsty and desperate, but I personally think it’s funny. In an interview with Jared Marcelle and Michael Kimmel they were discussing each other’s views on cat calling. “It really has very little to do with the woman. It has to do with your relationship with the other guys. It's about, you know, doing it in front of other guys. You know what I mean?” Kimmel went on to say. In other words, guys catcall to show off in front of other guys.Late on in the interview, Kimmel gave a better word to describe this situation and it’s called “homosocial.” It makes a little bit more sense because I’ve always realized after I get catcalled by a guy, they always look at their friends for approval or to laugh or joke. The best part of it all is that if you walk right past them like they not even there they get mad and say “Well that’s why you ugly anyways” or “thot.”
Some may often say that women get treated the way they allow themselves to get treated. I agree but also disagree with this statement. When a man says or does something to a women, the women can respond two ways. She can either go along with the guy, give him her number or she can ignore and walk away and also say “no.” That’s where females make the choice to get “treated” a certain way. It all depends on self worth and self confidence. If a girl thinks that they think they are worth a guy catcalling them then that’s how they think they should get treated. Getting catcalled can be a confidence booster for some girls or women. She may feel as if she is cute or better then someone else. Getting cat called can also lower a girl’s confidence. She may question her worth or her ability to get someone who respects her as a women and doesn’t look at her as a toy.
Gender roles plays a huge role in society, men are always labeled as the ¨ bad people¨, and women are labeled are the ¨weaker links¨. Just because men are homosocial and catcall girls because their buddies are around doesn’t make them bad people. I do believe that guys are able to respectfully approach a women without being disrespectful or even harmful. It takes a special girl to change a man’s street ways, and it can take a good friend to encourage his friend to change. It also is a man’s responsibility to stop trying to show off for his friends in order to successfully talk to a girl without offending her in anyway. Men aren’t bad people but they put women through bad things, things other than catcalling. There has many many acts of violence toward women. It all comes down to gender roles, men are expected to be the ‘tougher’ ones then women. We are looked at as the weaker links.
CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
Interview. Radio Rookies: Reformed Catcaller Explores Roots Of Street Harassment. N.p., 23 Aug. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
Una Oda a Francisco “Pancho” Villa
Jugador clave, violento, inteligente
Cuando yo te veo pienso en sombreros
Creo que todo es posible y que los puede hacer
Tù eres mi inspiraciòn
In my paper my central question was “Is it healthy to have a private self or public self?" One goal for my piece of writing was to just let my readers know that you should just be YOURSELF regardless of what people say about you because everyone gets talked about. Although I don’t think it’s bad to have a private and public self I just believe it shouldn’t matter how you think people view you.
Most people act one way in public and another way in private because they feel like they can’t be themselves without being judged. At least once in a lifetime there was a moment where you may have felt uncomfortable with your environment and felt like you couldn’t be yourself. Struggling with these internal conflicts can really mess one’s confidence up and it can make one feel down. Famous people don’t really have it easy either, most of them are lost and trapped in a mind that is there but don’t really know how to separate their famous stage self to their personal home self. Finding who you are and your identity can come with many challenges in life but it starts with being comfortable in your own skin.
When I think of a public and personal identity I think of a Disney star Miley Cyrus. She was originally was on Disney channel which is mainly for kids and that’s how her career started in the music business. As her career took off, she started to grow up and grow into the women she is now, and she wanted to do more ‘grownup’ things. She felt held back because she knew she had a bunch of young kids watching her, but the Miley Cyrus on TV is not the real Miley Cyrus in real life, it’s only her when she reads the script. She struggled with handling this at first when she was transitioning. As years went on, she started to feel comfortable maybe even way too comfortable that she started to show her body on stage, create more sexual music and not caring too much about what people thought about her. Miley Cyrus once said: "I'm not really scared or insecure about anything because I'm used to people judging me. I'm used to people knocking me down, so I'm used to getting back up." This is a mindset that most people don’t have so it’s really inspiring to hear someone so famous and big say something like this and know that we aren’t alone.
Not only famous people struggle with a private and public identity, but everyone does. It can be looked at as a insecurity thing. You may think that people won’t accept you for who your true self is so you try to change and maybe act like them, or act the way you think they’ll accept you. I personally never ‘changed’ myself for anyone but I do remember a time where I know I just didn’t belong in a friend group that I associated myself with. I just got really bad vibes from certain people and I knew they would talk about me behind my back about how my personality doesn’t match theirs. Of course I cared and thought about how would I be able to fit in without being judged but after a while you forget and just start not to care. Being talked about isn’t the best feeling in the world, some people (like me) start to become self conscious, insecure and doubtful. You begin to put yourself down and you start to see the negative side of yourself rather than the positive beautiful side.
You shouldn’t let your insecurities, judgements define you. We all have once struggled with accepting something about ourselves, but that shouldn’t hold us back from being the people that we were brought on this earth to be. Ralph Emerson a famous poet observed, “ to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Love yourself there's nothing wrong with that, loving and accepting yourself is one of the most beautiful things you can possibly do and experience. Once you find yourself and accept yourself you won't care what the next person has to say about you.
Being judged is normal, having a private and public self is normal, holding back is also normal so none of these things are bad. Letting these negative things in are bad, keep them out, never let your head down and don’t look back. Finding who are may come with being talked about and maybe even being let down. It’s your job to find comfort in your own skin and to love yourself matter what is said about you.
"'Miley: The Movement': 10 Most Memorable Quotes From Miley Cyrus' Deluxe Doc."The Hollywood Reporter. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.
"Be Yourself Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.
Writing this essay was a bit difficult for me at first because I couldn’t really get my larger idea to come together and connect to the topic literacy. In the process of writing and putting all my ideas together I think my writing skills improved. People often “code switch” depending on the environment their around and the people who they associate themselves with. I can improve on how I incorporate my quotes into my essay and punctuation.
Being literate today is a big thing. It is the focus of most academic programs and in many homes. Some define literacy as one’s ability to read and write proficiently; while, others may say literacy is one’s ability to connect effectively with those around them. I often wonder if my peers would define literacy as a person’s ability to integrate themselves into different cultural and social environments as they grow and develop? While I am not certain how my peers would respond, I firmly believe that literacy is a combination of how well you read and write, while being able to effectively understand, communicate and socialize with people from various cultures, ethnicities and religions. I have been put in so many different situations and environments where my behavior changed based on the people I associated with and how they acted towards me, in other words, “code switching,” to show my friends that I was literate in the areas that were important so that I would be accepted into the group.
Entering high school as a freshman was one thing, but being surrounded by the wrong group of people was another. Freshman year I was in a semi - diverse school but the students were mostly African American and Hispanic. The people I hung out with at the time always got in trouble and I always seemed to be getting in the middle of everything. I was never the type of student to have any problems with others, but being in that school made me feel as if I had to be this “big and bad” person to fit in and felt I had to be someone who I’m not. I would talk a certain way, react to things differently than I usually would and that just wasn't me. No one truly knew the real me, the girl who just wanted to always have fun, laugh, sing and read. I always came off as a “mean” girl. At that time, I enjoyed when people thought I was mean. That was an indicator not to mess with me “or else”. Deep down I was dejected, I don’t know why I had to put on a front for people who were most likely doing the same thing that I was, just dealing with it a different way.
“Wild tongues can’t be tamed; they can only be cut out.” A quote from How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldua, took me back to time in this school where my language and choice of words would always get me caught in sticky situations. I had never acted or talked that way. When I would be at home, or even in another place of learning I didn’t behave in such a foul way. Transitioning from one school to another helped me to realize the extent to which my behaviors were directly related to my environment. Sophomore year I entered a new school, surrounded myself with more positive people and enjoyed being the respectable, insightful and charismatic young lady who I was meant to be. Trouble no longer found me, but open hearts and new beginnings did. I started to realize that the more I surrounded myself with positive people and things, the more my behaviors reflected the positive influences. My way of thinking and even my way of living was readjusted to incorporate the positive social literacy that I have been raised to embody.
Whether through pages of a book, or in reality, literacy can be interpreted in so many ways. Through daily experiences and interactions with others everyone has different perspectives on ways of life and how they define literacy. Reading and writing are simple aspects of knowledge that help with academic literacy, while interacting and socializing with other help you experience literacy. Literary assumptions are based on daily interactions, environmental factors, as well as cultural and ethnic experiences.
My goal in this essay is to show the readers that trying new things and going a little out of your comfort zone isn’t always so bad. Sometimes in order to realize and appreciate certain things you have to go through uncomfortable situations.
Advanced Essay -
“Happy Birthday to you” is all I heard when I woke up that morning, my eyes were still closed as I turned to the other side facing the wall not wanting to be bothered. I almost forgot it was my birthday, but when my mom continued singing, my eyes opened so wide you could see my pupils. As I turned to the other side to face my mom our eyes interlocked, we were looking into each others big dark brown eyes while she sang happy birthday and handed me warm delicious pancakes that smelled like brownies. I had a bright white smile and a really crusty face but I didn’t care it was my day. I was finally turning a year older “Get dressed I have a surprise for you” is all I heard with a sweet and mellow voice. I was anxious. What could it possibly be? I wanted a new phone so maybe that’s what it was! I hopped out of bed so quick my mom could feel the wind as I ran past her to go to the bathroom to turn the shower on.
Everyone’s dressed, except my mom. “Hurry!, Hurry! I said with a forcing and loud tone, you can see the annoyance on my mom’s face as she quickly continues to get ready. What could this surprise possibly be? I hated surprises so much! I hated them just as much as dogs hate baths. Ten minutes passed, Twenty minutes passed and even thirty minutes passed and I was STILL waiting on my mom. I gave up! My heart is beating extra fast and my mind is racing. I bugged her and bugged her and she never gave in.
The last thing I thought the surprise was is painting a picture. “Painting with a twist” to be exact. My mom knew I didn’t like to paint! So how dare she even consider taking me to this small, uncomfortable place on MY birthday. I was angry. Blood, sweat and tears angry but I smiled. I smiled because I didn’t want my mom to think I was selfish, I smiled because I didn’t want her to think I didn’t appreciate it, I smiled, but I wasn’t happy. Trying new things was always hard for me to do especially if I knew I wasn’t the best at it and it wasn’t in my comfort zone. I didn’t want to embarrass myself and walk out with the worst painting. I was also afraid of what other people thought and I tend to compare myself to others. It was my birthday so I was already going to be the center of attention so that on top of a horrible painting was just not a good mix.
We walked in and I put an old black apron on that had paint stains, I didn’t want to get any paint on my new fresh clothes. The director told us it wasn’t going to be hard and all we had to do was follow directions. She was old, with wrinkled pale skin, dark brown hair and tiny glasses. Of course she could easily say follow directions, she’s been doing this all her life. In my head, it didn’t matter if I followed directions or not I could NOT draw. I was staring at the blank white canvas as the director handed me these bright beautiful colors on a plate, big to small paint brushes that my hand held on tight to, and a big cup of water for the brushes. My mind was still racing, and my stomach began feeling uneasy.
As we waited for everyone to arrive, I just started to think about how the night would end.” Would I end up with the worst painting in the group”, “Would I embarrass myself?” Just all these negatives thoughts running through my mind as I was still sitting on a old wooden brown stool with one of it’s legs missing just. Finally, it was time to paint this beautiful African piece that I thought was going to be a disaster. The director began to show us the first step, all I could remember is each time she went back and painted, it looked harder and harder. Trying to keep up step by step, dipping my paint brushes in the paint as I colored the greenish blue background on this piece, hands shaking, nothing but silence in the room, and my mind telling me not to mess up.
As I kept painting, the colors became brighter on the page, my vision became clearer and my painting wasn’t so bad. I followed directions and made it into my own little creation. This surprise wasn’t bad after all. There was music blasting, snacks being handed out, laughter and enjoyment from everyone that was there. The environment is what made my painting so beautiful, the ideas I had in my head plus following the steps is what made my painting so beautiful, it came from my heart and that’s what made it beautiful. Some may say that they don’t like my painting but the red,blue and green colors that filled the canvas are beauty in my eyes and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most importantly, I tried something new and I got over my fear of being embarrassed in front of others. I’m learning in life in order to grow, one will have to take risk, so as I grew one year older I became a little more wiser.
Children are little people who enter the world with no perspective. They are guided by adults who help them to understand how and why things work the way they do. It is expected that as children learn and grow they interact appropriately with others inside and outside of their communities. Following rules, behaving appropriately and doing what they are told are among a few of the things that are expected of children. However, if children were left alone with no adult supervision, support, or guidance, how would this impact their growth and development? How would this affect their knowledge of rules and basic laws and expectations? Without parental supervision or guidance, children would have no idea of structure or standards to guide and direct them, and as a result they would act uncivilized.
In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of younger boys were stranded on an island without any adults to help teach or guide them. Without any adult supervision the boys had no choice but to provide for themselves. They were forced to create their own rules and standards by which they would abide. The littlun, with the mulberry-colored birthmark, begins to think that a ‘snake thing’ is a beast who only comes out in the dark. He informs all the boys which later causes them to display uncivilized actions, but for now all the boys think that itś funny and unbelievable. ¨Ralph, the leader of the group, laughed and the other boys laughed with him ‘ Tell us about the snake-thing, now he says it was a beastie...’¨ (Pg.35) At this point in the story the boys are laughing at, and taking advantage of this young boy’s feelings and ignoring his sense of safety and security. Given these boys have never had an adult teach them about respecting others feelings they do not realize that laughing at the littlun shows a lack of respect for his ability to feel safe and secure. Parents are usually the first people to teach children that they are safe and secure. From the moment a child is held in its mothers arms at birth till a time s/he has to be comforted when awoken by a really scary dream, it is through these child/adult interactions that reinforces a child's sense of safety and security.
As children grow there is an expectation that they engage in appropriate behaviors whether they are with their parents or not. When children do not act as they have been taught their behaviors can be interpreted as unruly and disrespectful. For instance, there was an incident that occurred on a septa bus where a few boys were seen cursing and spitting at people. According to 6abc.com, these 6 and 7 year old boys were also heard shouting vulgar language and hitting other people that were on the bus. In this situation, although adults were around the young boys had no respect for each other or the elders that were on the bus along with them. This example illustrates that kids are more subject to engage in unruly and uncivilized behaviors than adults.
With the absence of an adult or parental figure it is customary that the older children in the group would want to assume the major responsibility as the leader. Golding demonstrates this through the characterization of Ralph and Jack who began to compete over who had the power over the group. Jack and his choir made up one tribe while Ralph assumed control over the rest of the boys. In chapter 11, Ralph and Jack began to argue, they didn’t see eye to eye on anything. Ralph tried to get Jack to see the importance of the signal fire and following the rules of the island. They began to fight while Piggy tried to make peace; but, he struggled to make himself heard over the noise. In the meantime, Roger who is at the top of a mountain, shoved a rock down the mountainside which hit Piggy in the face, subsequently leading to his death. “The rock bounded twice and was lost in the forest. Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea”. (Pg.181) This moment in the story shows the lack of power that either of the boys had. They had no control over themselves or the other boys. Given the lack of control and influence exhibited by Ralph and Jack the two self proclaimed leaders of the group, a beloved brother was killed. When there is a lack of order and stability there is a greater chance that chaos will ensue.
As children become older they get involved in situations that are avoidable; yet, knowing the consequences of their actions can be life changing. For example, in the media a few years back there was an incident where two girls were arguing and one of the girls grabbed a shovel and hit the other with it. There was a video that was recorded and it went viral. The girl that got hit with the shovel could have lost her life or had a lot of complications with her body which could have lead to death. While the other could have gone to jail for a very long time. Although death was not not a result in this situation, both girls will have suffered a life altering event. According to a few major news outlets, “one of the girls got arrested and was brought up on misdemeanor charges and the other was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.” More often than not most children have an understanding of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. When they make a conscious decision display uncivilized and savage behaviors it can not only have a major impact on them but those who they come into contact with as well.
Structure and order are fundamental principles that rule and govern society. When anyone, adults or children, act outside the laws that guide them they can be considered disobedient. However, when behaviors have a negative impact on others they can be considered uncivilized and savage. While adults can exhibit these types of behaviors, it is more reasonable to think that immaturity, lack of experience and emotional development are among the major factors that result in the inappropriate behaviors of children. These negative behaviors are exacerbated when children lack the support and guidance of adults who teach them what is and is not acceptable. Negative behaviors are further impacted when there is lack of consistency and continuity, which are opportunities children have to continually see and understand how to appropriately interact with others. When adults can properly guide children and consistently reinforce the right ways they are supposed to behave, there is a greater chance that children will act respectfully, responsibly and reliably in any situation.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin Group, 2003.
"Young Boys Caught on Video Hitting, Cursing and Spitting on Train Passengers - but Behavior of Adult of the Group Is Equally Shocking."The Blaze. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/03/30/young-boys-caught-on-video-hitting-cursing-and-spitting-on-train-passengers-but-behavior-of-adult-of-the-group-is-equally-shocking/>.
"Charges Filed in Shovel Girl Video | Dayton, OH Crime." Charges Filed in Shovel Girl Video. N.p.,n.d.Web.06Apr.2016. <http://www.whio.com/news/news/charges-filed-shovel-girl-video-assault/nft8w/>.
Mis padres no son inmigrantes
Producto de Filadelfia.
Familia que viajes.
Veo la memoria de mi infancia,
Saboreo mi madre famoso salmón,
Oigo risa de mi familia,
toco las plantas en el jardín.
Nado con el delfín en la playa.
Yo vuelo alto con el pajaro en el cielo.
Escapo a la puesta del sol,
Necesito mi familia permanecer toda.
Somos productos de Filadelfia.
La lengua de pollo y arroz.
Somos Americanos y vivimos en America.
Hablamos el mismo idioma.
Los fines de semana, soy
boba y divertida
Cuando tengo tiempo libre, me encanta practicar deportes,
ir de compras y escuchar música
No soy ni antipatica
(Picks up the phone and calls her boyfriend)
Hey babe … Yeah I’m fine, I just had to talk to you about something. Umm I don’t know if you’ll be mad but just don’t hang up on me…. So… I took a pregnacy test and it came back positive. Yeah, I’m so serious I would never lie about something like that…. Don’t yell at me! You were the one who decided to crawl in my bed, it takes 2. No I haven’t told my mom yet, you’re the first person I told. A abortion is not an option! We are going to take care of this child, this is something we decided to do and we have to own up to it…. I’m 2 months already and I’m so scared. I should have never done it with you, you told me it would all be okay, you said I wouldn’t get pregnant! It’s all your fault and now you see what happened? …. No! don’t tell me to calm down do you know how much trouble I am going to get in... I know I didn’t have to do it with you but it happened and now we can’t take this back!.. No I’m not telling my mom first, you tell yours… I’m scared to, it’s okay just promise not to leave me all alone. I didn’t hear you say you promise …
Hello? HELLO? You still there ? Oh okay, good! Now tell me you promise! …. promise that you’re not going to leave me alone with OUR responsibility… Why can’t you make this promise to me?... Are you serious !? If I LOVE you, I wouldn’t make you take care of this baby? If you LOVED me so much to get in my bed you’re going to LOVE this baby and take care of it! … I told you that wasn’t an option! This child deserves a beautiful life… I know, we are young, dumb and we aren’t ready but it’s time for us to grow up and get ready… Trust me, I can’t believe this either but life goes on and stuff happens, we all make silly mistakes… I know this is not a “silly” mistake! I don’t know how to describe it, I’m just trying to look at the positive side! I just need us to stay together and take care of our child.... WHAT!?! Did I hear you correctly, you said you’re breaking up with me!? What do you mean !? … No !! you can’t do this to me , you can’t !! .. Don’t go… This is your baby to !!
Wait! Please! Don’t hang up we still have to talk about this ! Hello? HELLO? ( puts the phone down and cries hysterically)
“Guys what do you want to do this weekend?
“We should like definitely go to the mall.” I exclaimed. “You talk so white,” my friends Naby and Bryan replied.
Whenever my friends tell me I talk white I think to myself, how can someone talk white? Is there a problem with the way I talk? What am I saying that is different from what others are saying? Why should it matter if I talk white, black, pink or purple? What does it have to do with anything? Personally, I don’t see how I talk white, I don’t have a problem with the way I talk so why should anyone else? I think I talk proper because that’s how I was brought up.
This talking white thing bothers me because I just want to know what people mean when they say I talk white. When I make new friends I tend to ask them if I talk white to see what they will say. Some say yes and others say no. “Do I talk white?” I may ask. “Yeah you do” “Do I talk white?” they say, mocking me. They usually laugh and make jokes and continue to mock me. I never knew one’s voice or choice of words could sound so funny, I think to myself. I don’t understand where this talking white thing comes from. What’s the big deal?
I have to believe that perhaps my upbringing contributes to my language development. I have been raised for the most part in the Greater Northeast section of Philadelphia and live in quite and ethnically diverse neighborhood. I have attended private schools that were predominately African American and transitioned to public schools whose make-up has been predominately White. I have made and maintained friends of all nationalities and religious backgrounds. Due in part to these things I have mentioned, I have to wonder if I’ve picked up a specific way of speaking from attempting to create my own language when interacting with the multitude of friends that I have. I imagine even speech can be influenced because of the people you’ve been around your whole life.
While I do consider upbringing as an influence on how I talk, I cannot believe that this is the only or major factor simply because many of my family members comment on this as well. “There’s the accent,” they say or “you guys,” they tease. Often times I find myself limiting conversations to one or two words just so I won’t have to hear whatever remarks they are waiting to give about how I talk. Although I am no longer bothered when this happens, I recall times that it totally upset me, because I wasn’t speaking any differently than anyone else I knew. I never mentioned any of these feelings to my family; however, as I got older it seemed as if they slowly stopped criticizing me about the way I talk.
Despite the fact that my family has eased up on the speech comments, it is something that I continue to deal with in school among my peers and when I’m hanging out with certain groups of friends. For instance when I am with my African American friends I may say, “hey guys do yous want to go to the park?” and immediately they reply with; “Imani, why do you say yous, that’s how white people talk.” While I know I should probably be honest and tell them how I feel, I’ve always felt like they would judge me about taking it to heart. As such, I decided that it’d be best when with them to speak in a way that they could best identify. Yet, code switching in this way reminds me of Maxine Hong Kingston’s assertion that; “ a ready tongue is evil.” Trying to speak in a way that is not natural for sometimes results in me saying things that are inappropriate and uncomfortable.
My best friend Tiffany is White and when I’m with her I tell her how I feel about the “ I talk white comments” and I tell her how I never felt so insecure about something so little before. It was to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable talking or speaking around certain people. She’s has the ability to calm me down and tell me that there’s no problem with the way I talk. She reassures me that I don’t have to change something so unique for people that have no idea what they are talking about. Tiffany always reminds me how proper I talk and how I shouldn’t be insecure about that because I have manners and am a very courteous person.
Having a friend who understands my perspective is really empowering. It helps me cope with being mocked and criticized. It also helps because she is a listening ear and that allows me a chance to get it off my chest. Tiffany has helped me realize that I need to take a stand. Everyone does things differently and we are all individuals with our own unique styles. Richard Rodriguez in his text “Hunger of Memory” indicates; “people involve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances.” this quote reminds me that we all have a specific way in which we use language and to feel empowered we have to use language to navigate our destiny. No one should be judged or criticized by how they speak.
“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 identify,” James Baldwin. I strongly agree with Mr. Baldwin because one's language identifies who they are. Regardless of how I speak, I have a voice which is my instrument and I should be able to speak however I want without my friends, family or whomever criticizing and teasing me. I feel comfortable with my language and how I speak, I shouldn’t be ashamed of something that is mine. How I speak is powerful and unique!