Friday, August 1, 2008

A Voice of Intellegence

Okay, I've always tried to teach my children to see no color. Our friends come from different backgrounds and so do theirs. As a matter of fact, up until my olderest son was about 6, he identified everyone by the color of their shirt. "That blue guy on TV...." "That orange guy said..."
This has embarrassed a time or two when the shirt is white or black.

Living in an extremely diversified community has been a blessing for me and the perfect environment for raising children. I grew up the same way. My dad was a soldier. Yes, I'm an Army Brat turned Army WIfe. HOOAH! Our military communities were giant melting pots. Understanding the difference between one "color" and another meant nothing to me.

It wasn't until I returned to my home town through PSC moves and for visits that I became aware of the differences in the way "we act".

I had to be as young as 5 or 6 when I remember my cousins, aunts and uncles saying, "You talk like a white girl."

At that time, I took it as an insult. "Nuh uhh. No I don't." And for years, the semi-teasing would continue. Someone would always comment on how... "proper" I spoke, and how I MUST hang around too many..... white people.

I've never to this day been able to understand that concept. Why is it that if a black person speaks proper english, as it is taught in every english text book I've ever known, even the ones that are sent to schools with 99% African American students, why is it that speaking the way that english is meant to be spoken, considered "a white thing"?

I teach my children to speak proper english. I correct them whenever I hear broken english or improper uses of verb tense, or whatever. I do this because I know that life is going to be hard enough for them when they get older. There are always going to be road blocks placed before them simply because of who they are. I don't want them to have doors slammed in their faces because they can't speak the english we are intended to speak. It would be extremely hard to get into Harvard, Princeton, Howard or Georgetown if you walk in for an interview talkin' 'bout, "What yo name is?"

I want them to know that there is a right way and a wrong way, not a black way and a white way.

I teach them proper english because I love them and I expect great things from them. I teach them that talking is the way you express your self to the world and is the mirror to your intellegence. And if that means that they will be accused of "acting white" or "talking like white people" the way it did for me, so be it. I'm thankful every day for my voice.

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