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"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.

TaperJeanGirl Mon 23-Sep-13 10:05:42

Here it would be using the words fam, cuz, ever watched top boy? I call it " speaking like a street rat" and is by no means only black people that speak like it here, I hate it and would not allow my kids to speak like it around me.

MaidOfStars Mon 23-Sep-13 10:10:12

Given that he has picked it up* from the people he hangs around with, it sounds like it most definitely is his culture.

*Whatever 'it' is. Can't rid myself of the image of that old lady talking 'jive' in Airplane....

fluffyraggies Mon 23-Sep-13 10:13:00

I do know what's meant by 'talking black', i think.

DH has a couple of white 'lads' (in their early 20s) (both from well off backgrounds as it happens) working for him at the mo who do seem to put allot of effort into sounding as if they are from a black street culture.

Unreasonable to think that black people are a homogenous mass though, of course.

comingalongnicely Mon 23-Sep-13 10:13:41

Could be worse, round here they'd say he was speaking like a "Wigger".

I can understand the sentiment, but there are better ways to say it!

BrokenSunglasses Mon 23-Sep-13 10:17:08

I understand the sentiment too, and I would tell my children to stop talking like some own they are not no matter what the slang/accent/dialect was.

MoistJoist Mon 23-Sep-13 10:18:42

But what is the sentiment/"black street culture"? It's like saying "white culture" - yet, the French differ from the British, they from the German, they from the Russians, they from the Danish etc etc (also not negating the fact that French, British, German, Russian and Danish people are not all white!)

In the same way, the Zimbabweans differ from the Kenyans, they from the South Africans, they from the Ghanians etc etc (also not negating the fact that Zimbabweans, Kenyans, South Africans and Ghanians are not exclusively black!).

emuloc Mon 23-Sep-13 10:21:59

That is right MoistJoist but judging from some of the replies on here some posters would need educating on those facts. Perhaps then they would not sound so ignorant.

DumDum32 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:26:32

I don't see anything wrong in talking in slang or with an accent or dialect as I speak like that when I'm with my friends. However at work it's a different matter & I would not speak in slang at work as its unproffessional. as long as kids know when to take in that manner & when not to I don't see it as a problem. all of my generation & the generation after us have managed to do this without any trouble so I don't see why the current generation of children can't do the same. Then again I've grown in a very multi-cultural part of London so I suspect my view is slightly biased.

MotherofBear Mon 23-Sep-13 10:35:19

I think it would be better described as talking 'street'. I know exactly what that mum means, it's a particular style of talking which is popular with many teens and young adults. 'Dis' 'dat' 'dose' 'innit' instead of 'this' 'that' 'those' etc. I don't actually know how they talk that way, it seems to be an abrupt and short way of talking. As if they don't really know how to pronounce the words properly (I'm talking of those brought up in this country, not those who have English as a second language).

MoistJoist Mon 23-Sep-13 10:39:13

I can understand a recognised form of "street/urban" culture but it was just the way in which she automatically connected her negative feelings about a particular way of talking to "black people" that gets my goat.

Norudeshitrequired Mon 23-Sep-13 10:41:26

Maybe he was talking / trying to talk patois.
If he was speaking patois then it would be fair to say that he was 'speaking black' as patois is the English lexified creole language used in Jamaica.
Unless you have a Jamaican accent then attempting to speak patois usually sounds ridiculous.
I think the mother had a point, although worded her point very badly.

MotherofBear Mon 23-Sep-13 10:42:45

I can completely understand your feelings, OP. Most people don't really have any idea or awareness of how things they say can be negative towards cultures or races or nationalities.

squoosh Mon 23-Sep-13 10:44:22

Tim Westwood makes me cringe with his affected street accent. His father was a bishop.

SweetSeraphim Mon 23-Sep-13 10:44:53

I don't think it's patois though - there is a very specific street language that is a mish mash of loads of stuff. Like Plan B in Harry Brown, for example.

peggyundercrackers Mon 23-Sep-13 10:49:40

she probably thought her ds was trying to talk like a nigerian 'would-be' gansgter. if someone said 'stop talking black' i would understand exactly what they were saying.

DumDum32 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:55:56

I agree moist but unfortunately some people are very ignorant in that sense & are scared of anything unfamiliar so they automatically put it down to the only thing they know.

MoistJoist Mon 23-Sep-13 11:03:56

But Jamaicans are not the only black group in the UK, nor are they even the majority.

And peggyundercrackers re: your reference to a "nigerian 'would-be' gangster" and how you would link that to understanding what "talking black" means, do you actually realise how ignorant/uneducated that comes across as? Can you see how certain people (including you) appear to automatically link "talking black" to/with a negative image?

umiaisha Mon 23-Sep-13 11:05:51

All the white kids speak in what we call 'jafake-an' round here (West London). Makes me cringe and all the black kids I know find it hilarious!!

DumDum32 Mon 23-Sep-13 11:08:30

"wow" it seems ignorance is bliss for some! shock

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Mon 23-Sep-13 11:15:35

It is wrong to connect a dislike of slang-heavy speech with Black cultures as the mother did and the media re-enforces.

That response leads me to think that is highly unlikely that the child was using slang or an accent on Black Kenyan or Zimbabwean speech - cultures don't just rest on nationalities. I find it odd to be going on Ghana and South Africa when the most common modern slang in "standard English" is most often co-opted from dialects of colonized Black cultures such as patois or AAVE (particularly as the American media appropriates it and portrays the harmful image of using AAVE as a shorthand for uneducated often and such shorthand has become common in British media as well along with other dialects). I would pull my children up on using appropriated slang and dialect, not for any negative on "sounding black", but because of the long history of disrespect of such dialects and harm that such co-opting has caused underpowered groups.

MrsOakenshield Mon 23-Sep-13 11:16:37

I think I kind of know what that person meant, though they have put it badly. I live in a majority West African part of town, and the younger (probably British born) kids speak in a kind of semi gangsta drawl (so they're not Cockney which is what the 'native' accent would have been here, iyswim). Anyway, my point is that it sounds absolutely ludicrous when any white kids speak like that, even though I can see why they would as it's the predominate way of speaking amongst their peers. (TBH to my ears it sounds like a fake accent, whoevers using it, but ridiculous if it's a white child - if DD ever spoke like that I would be unimpressed - it would be an affectation like Jamie Oliver talking Mockney).

fluffyraggies Mon 23-Sep-13 11:17:16

dum dum - are you angry with the posters saying they wouldn't want their children to talk like that, or with the way some posters (me included) are trying to describe the style of speech we're on about? Genuine Q.

I was wary of posting because i wasn't sure what to call it. I know how it sounds, and yes, the black people i know do take the piss out of the white guys trying to be all cool and down on the street by emulating them.

Patoir is a whole proper language surely. It's a mix up including French isn't it?

nobodysbaby Mon 23-Sep-13 11:23:55

Linguists call it multicultural London English, and it is neither fake nor Jamaican. It's a consequence of young people growing up in a multicultural environment, and Paul Kerswill did a fab TED talk about it if anyone is interested - itZ's on Youtube. Our parents probably thought we sounded stupid when we were teenagers you know.

edam Mon 23-Sep-13 11:28:56

It's called 'jafake-an' where I used to live. Sounds daft to me, especially from the lips of white, middle class teens who are trying to sound as if they are from the ghetto, bless them.

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