"Don't talk black - you're not black"

(81 Posts)
MoistJoist Mon 23-Sep-13 09:56:53

Said very proudly by a parent to her DS (upon his picking up slang from boys at school) as "it's not his culture".

AIBU to wonder WTF is "talking black"?! I had no idea that all black people were some homogenous cultural mass with a singular way of expressing themselves.

Episode Mon 23-Sep-13 13:16:59

If my son was standing next to her whilst she said this, he would not associate that speech with me, and in being black too, himself!

Why or how is it okay for any old numpty to give ideas to my son about who he is and how his people speak? And with that, a subconscious element how he is expected to speak/behave or how he should!

His hum, dad, nan, grandad, brother, uncles, cousins and the list could go on, DO NOT speak like that. We are all black.

So I take offence beacuse it is a short sighted blanket term and most importantly INCORRECT!

If I take my feeligns out of the equation I look to my children sometimes for the answer. I challenge any parent to tell me they'd be okay in a group full of white kids, with your child being the only black one, to witness that sentence.

On face value as adults of course we have to take many things with a pinch of salt.

But children are different and they need to be protected. I am not saying the the mother said what she did out of malice but if you are okay with your child hearing that then I strongly urge you to be careful not to allow your children to internalise other peoples ignorance, stereotypes, and assumptions about them and how they should be bahave.

If you dont, then regardless of what you do and how you are at home, you will have 'black' moments that you probably thought you were going to avoid! Because in you saying it's not offence because this language is 'black' you do realise that to most people before anything your child is too!!!

And at some point they WILL learn this lesson outside of home.

I hope I do not come accross patronising but I for one will dictate what my children think is black and teach them how to diffrentiate, african, west indian, south african, north, east, west, Nigerian, Ghanain, Jamaican etc etc etc between 'Street' and that is what this language is. I hope you will too!

There is so much harm in point blank assoicating street with black. So much!

Chickensoupyum Mon 23-Sep-13 13:25:47

Did he mean patois? I think it's ridiculous to talk as if you belong to a different culture.

namechangesforthehardstuff Mon 23-Sep-13 13:27:15

Understanding what someone means doesn't mean that what they're saying isn't offensive. I understand the words in every point the BNP make. Doesn't mean they're not a huge bunch of racist arseholes.

FrigginRexManningDay Mon 23-Sep-13 13:28:00

Round here its called skanger,a sort of mix up of american slang,British slang and dublinese. I have a thick Dublin accent but this generation is like a whole new language.

Norudeshitrequired Mon 23-Sep-13 13:41:29

I hope I do not come accross patronising but I for one will dictate what my children think is black and teach them how to diffrentiate, african, west indian, south african, north, east, west, Nigerian, Ghanain, Jamaican etc etc etc between 'Street' and that is what this language is. I hope you will too!

The OP has referred to it as 'slang from the playground' but that in itself can mean a whole variety of things and could well be street language or could be patois or something else.
Certainly where I grew up (a very multicultural area) it wasn't uncommon for the kids of West Indian heritage to go about saying things like ' a wha de rass' and 'bumba clart', that was the 'slang' used by lots of black kids in the area. Both of those phrases I would associate with patois and therefore Jamaica (which is a majority Black Country).
If the OP means the boy was saying things like 'innit' then it (in my opinion) isn't language associated with black people, but is language associated with foolish people who think it is a cool way to speak. Anybody that thinks such language is 'black language' needs to get an education.
My children wouldn't be offended by somebody using that phrase because my children are well educated and are confident with their identity.

Sadly rappers are not helpful when it comes to this emergence of street language, but then most rappers come across as Uneducated fools anyhow.
To be honest I think most rappers deserve to be shot for crimes against themselves - going about using the N word and talking about women in derogatory ways etc.
I am black but if my sons came home speaking like that I wouldn't be mincing my words.
I wouldn't be referring to their language as 'black', but that's because I'm not an ignorant fool. Some people just don't know any better, but ignorance and racism are two separate (although sometimes interlinked) issues.
Have you even considers the fact that the mother was concerned that her son would get ridiculed by his peers if she didn't tell him to stop? When I was at school white people trying to use patois etc would have been ridiculed to the max.
She did make a poor choice of words but I don't think we can read more than that from the info given.

Episode Mon 23-Sep-13 14:14:16

Norudeshitrequired - I see your point regarding street vs patois and it would be good for the OP to come back an clarify!

I must admit I made an assumption based on my age! I was in school/college/uni less than 10/7/5 years ago and I have younger brothers and sisters as well as cousins etc. I live in South London so in terms of 'black' culture im not sure there is anywhere else in the UK that has more.

IME Patois usage has not been prominent in youth dialect since the 90's. It certainly dosent cross over to white or even african children in the way it used to since 'street' slang has replaced it AND as its own language is comprehansive.

I do see young west indian children/adults flick between patois and street slang but I do not and have not in a long long time seen anybody else do it. I would say that amongst black kids though, parts of the Nigerian and Ghanian language are becoming widely used and I wonder if this is reflective if the music but this is a kind of internal black thing and its something thats done amongst friends and 99% time done in a playful context.

Street slang is definately english and used amongst white, black, asian and what ever else in equal measures and I dont think anybody needs to move into patois to improve thier social standing. It just wouldnt and in fact never has worked!

You are right ignorance and racism whilst close are not the same, but for me neither are something I am prepared to expose my children to especially when it stereotypes them!

So for that reason I would not be happy with her use of this in public with children in ear shot (especially black children). We all want to protect our children and if her child is schooled around here I myself would advise her to tell him to stop. It will do his credibility no good whatsoever.

Similalry though, I find it offensive in equal measures when white people think they should talk that way to me because I am black and therefore equal street. I binned a boyfriend for that shit.

Yeh and F* rappers! Well most of them ;-)

Latara Mon 23-Sep-13 14:40:31

I've never heard a black person talking in the way the mother meant so I wouldn't call it ''speaking black''.

I call it ja-fake-an because the media do - it's really funny to hear coming out of the mouth of a 20-something here in Dorset for example.

SaucyJack Mon 23-Sep-13 14:40:56

I call it Jafakan too, and I would most definitely tell mine to stop, if they start doing it when they're older.

We live iun the Home Counties- not Trenchtown. It sounds ridiculous.

thebody Mon 23-Sep-13 14:48:33

always reminds me of that posh violinist Nigel Kennedy talking in a rough cockney accent and posh Lilly Allen doing the same.

You also hear some environmental protestors who are obviously living in daddy's hand outs putting on 'working class' accents so yes completely see the parents point.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 23-Sep-13 14:48:42

MoistJoist. .I think YABU to say you wonder what she meant. .I'm sure you know very well what she meant.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 23-Sep-13 14:51:11

Not saying I agree with the mother.
But I live in Edinburgh where people tend to speak in their own accents and still it has filtered through to my elderly brain

peggyundercrackers Mon 23-Sep-13 14:59:13

moistjoist - no i dont see how it is negative - it is what it is. the only thing i see is you getting upset... i live in a part of scotland which doesnt really have a black culture and people who do try and talk like this get the piss taken out of them because they its just plain stupid and they just look like a twat.

Ilovemyrabbits Mon 23-Sep-13 15:00:15

We call it Jafaken here. DD has a couple of friends who tried it out. We live in a leafy suburban area where street culture is limited but there are a number of boys in particular, from middle class families, who feel the need to talk like gangsters. I'm convinced it's linked to their love of all things rap and their desire to rebel.

I agree with OP that 'talking black' is a horrible phrase, completely disrespectful and doesn't actually sum up the situation. From the mum's perspective, I suspect she meant her son sounded like an idiot for trying to sound black, rather than that blacks sounded stupid tho and thus, so did her DS by attempting to sound 'street'. A very ill thought out way of saying it.

Jafaken sums it up for me...a made up word for a made up accent.

thebody Mon 23-Sep-13 15:04:02

it's a reverse Hyacinth Bouquet.

obviously people will take the piss and if my kids did this I would take the piss out of them and advise them not to be so daft.

find it almost incredible that you don't understand this op?

wordfactory Mon 23-Sep-13 15:05:56

Street slang/urban dialect is what the woman in the OP meant.

It is not only used by black people. Not at all.

It does, however, have lots of words in it that come from prodominantly black cultures.

BurberryQ Mon 23-Sep-13 15:09:34

hmm i do say to my son when he says to me 'whats the drillie cuz?' (WTF?) 'stop talking like that you are not black' - then he tells me i am racist etc etc....

raspberrybombe Mon 23-Sep-13 15:15:55

This forum always appears to be people being offended at everything!

(unless it is from a minority - then it is 'free speech)

RunRabbit Mon 23-Sep-13 15:39:23

I do think she used a poor choice of words with: Don't talk black - you're not black. But I know what she means and I wouldn't think it was meant to be offensive.

I see it as slang that is used mostly in cultures where the people are predominantly Black. Like Jamaican.

So yes I do cringe when someone who so obviously does not come from said culture speaks like that.

And to recognise that slang comes from a certain place doesn't mean you think ALL people from that place speak like that. Some people speak slang others don't.

Some people speak cockney slang but to say that doesn't mean you think all Londeners/English people speak that way.

MoistJoist Mon 23-Sep-13 15:48:03

Let's put it this way - I am black, my DS is black. I did find it offensive - apparently, to her, black people speak "street" - yet I am black and I certainly do not speak in the prescribed way she was talking about/describing ("innit", "blud", etc etc), nor do my family, friends etc.

And BurberryQ, is it only black people that speak like that? Do all black people speak like that? If your answer is no to either of those questions, how can you refer to it as him trying to talk as though he is black? Once again, I'll say this - black people are not some homogenous cultural mass.

The reason a lot of people laugh at street slang is because they find it an inarticulate/uneducated way of speaking, and that's what the mother meant when she said she was unhappy with her son speaking in such a manner. Can you not see why to then call it "speaking black" is offensive, ignorant and demeaning?

It's very easy to gloss over it by claiming people take offence way too easily. I tend to find those that spout that are the most offensive of all (or they almost certainly wish to be but just hate the possibility of their being called up on it).

RunRabbit Mon 23-Sep-13 16:21:39

Well no one can tell you what you should/shouldn't find offensive.

Ok, so if you were offended by it. Did you say anything to her so she would not repeat the offence again?

Or are you putting all your hope into her being psychic?

thebody Mon 23-Sep-13 16:27:08

well as a brummie we are well used to people taking the piss out if our accents here.

we are described as sounding thick, slow, dim etc.

shoulder shrug really. not of the professionally offended. unless you call me black county of course!! grin

34DD Mon 23-Sep-13 16:42:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

emuloc Mon 23-Sep-13 18:21:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrspremise Mon 23-Sep-13 19:02:03

I told a boy at the school where I work to stop talking like Tim Westwood last year. He never spoke like it again! grin

4athomeand1cooking Mon 23-Sep-13 19:05:34

I grew up in east london in the 80's and during that time certain areas were associated with different cultures and racism still existed largely.

Hackney was extremely multi-cultural and many people sp

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