Why do you talk …(insert race here)?

I started my childhood in NYC but I now call the great city of Atlanta home. This colorful place never fails to serve up some form of entertainment; from pretty boys in heels and purses to various unique accents. About a month ago, I watched a video by a South African young lady who in poetry form told the story about being called out for talking white. Her response was that she could not help but talk white as she was speaking a white language. This got me thinking about how my ears literally bleed everytime I hear incorrect grammar and living in the South there is no shortage of this. Some of the phrases I have heard “I wish I hadnta” “I been known that” “Who he be” and the ever popular and now ingrained “What had happened was” make me cringe but after watching the video, I wonder if I have been over zealous in my defense of a language that is not even my own. I need to remind myself that language under goes changes with the passage of time and as cultures mix so does language creating pidgins and creoles. I have always been proud of the fact that I possess various levels of fluency in 4 languages but none of those includes an African language. Maybe it is time for me to learn a language from my motherland; a language of my ancestors. I have always been fascinated by Swahili. In Primary school I learned a bastardized version of the South African anthem which was a mix of Swahili and Duala another beautiful language and I couldn’t practice it enough till I got it just right. Yes, I think it may be time for me to start talking Black and come to think of it, I might just start with !Xhosa.


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