Peridot v. Period

Okay Internet Natives, it’s time for the talk. In the age of the World Wide Web, with endless knowledge at our fingertips, we have the great melting pot that America has always strived to be in our hands. The up side to our high-speed lifestyle is the high-speed social integration that, again, the United America has epically failed at. Over the last ten years the amount of US adults with smart phone jumped from 35% to 81%. I bring up statistics to make it perfectly clear how much the world changes in context to the internet. This Blog is about the lengths language can go to impress itself on to the human condition and to study the words we use to identify ourselves and others. But let us be frank, teens aren’t particularly interested in the slang speech of the youth, and aside from boomers trying to lie down exactly what is going to feed the mass appeal machine craves. The awareness on modern language is not there.

Now keep up with me, it is about to get quick, what else is lacking the mass intellectual address it deserves and is still fundamental to our understanding of each other? Negros in America. Throughout the whole of American history, African Americans have carved out a great and virtuous mark all their own. Apart from that is African American Vernacular English or Ebonics (Which was coined by some white man meaning ebony+phonics, kinda strange), if you don’t know, it’s what is largely misunderstood as “Slang”, “popular language” or, “ghetto talk”. It sounds like “drive da whip”, “I can dig it”, or it could be a case of the use of tenses, “He steady rushing”. That is AAVE. Making linguistics interesting is a real magic trick, but I’ll try my hardest. Officially AAVE is a dialect that has developed since British Colonialism over the last 400 years, mostly attached to the American South and therefore a direct result of the horrific brutalization of Black people through slavery. The research is few and far between, the most extensive being records from the Nineteenth Century of ex-slave narratives and HooDoo texts.

This brings me face first into my key point. This dialect seemingly forged from some of the darkest parts of American History has come to so popularized internationally, yet still carries these gross racial undertones of what it is to be “Cool Ghetto Kids”. From the whitest parts of North America to the whitest parts of Asia you can see kids playing the role of “Black” using our dialect, that has been used as a tool of oppression, to fill in the part. I posted on every single piece of social media I have to ask what people know about AAVE and I got CRICKETS. But I bet you have said PERIOD unironically. I could condense this into “People love black people shit unless black people do it” but it feels bigger than that. Language is ever developing so don’t feel bad about using AAVE terminology, but there is significance in knowing what you say are saying and where it comes from. But I guess it doesn’t really matter we still live in a Society.

~Mariam Speaks