Word Wednesday: Ariana Brown- Dear White Girls in my Spanish Class

This hit… Let me tell you why…

Coming from a multicultural background, my English wasn’t always considered “proper” to a certain culture of people. I speak English, some Spanish, Suntian, and some bits of Creole & French. My parents came from the Caribbean (Jamaica), so when I was younger, I had a bit of an accent. I remember when I would say certain words like “direction”, but pronounced it like “DIE-Rection” due to my Caribbean culture, the white kids would laugh and correct me and say “IT’S DER-RECTION”, and would put me down because I didn’t speak like them.
Language and culture has always been something that has confused me living in the US. Even though English is technically a language that derived from other languages (Latin, French, Greek, etc.), it’s some how the most ARTICULATE of all languages??? Why is it that Jamaican Patois was considered a broken English dialect at one point and not a language within its own right? So because it’s spoken by more colored people, it’s not efficient enough to be considered a language even though it has certain aspects that would consider it within its own right a language instead of a dialect? Or what linguistics would label it as a type of “creole” language. Why isn’t English considered a Creole since it fits the basic definition of a Creole language?
Why are we told to speak English in America, when the word America isn’t even an English word? So you’re telling me I need to speak English in America because that’s the American way even though this isn’t the Native language of this land?

As a colored person, you get TIRED of feeling like a 3rd class citizen in this country, especially when your ancestors have contributed so much to this land. If America is influenced by an Eurocentric culture, then that culture is more acceptable, but if not, it’s broken, unprofessional, not proper and etc.
America is a melting pot of culture. The same way I had to learn about Euro-American culture, language, and etc., is the same way Euro-Americans need to learn about my NATIVE LANGUAGE, or how you guys would like to refer to it as SLANG or EBONICS.
Here’s the problem with American culture, we put one culture above all other cultures as if this is the standard that we must meet to be accepted and looked upon without any shame. It’s not right and not fair. The Eurocentric culture shouldn’t be set as the standard of living. The same way I’m subjected to sitting in a classroom for 6+ months out of the year, for 5 days a week, times 12 years of my life in a classroom to learn how to speak like a Euro descendent, to learn about Euro history, Euro language, and Euro culture, and am made to feel that I have to RESPECT IT, is the same way Euro descendants need to learn about Black culture, Latin culture, other cultures and LEARN HOW TO RESPECT IT.

What always amazed me about American culture and made me look at it as a shallow culture is the fact that they feel like everyone needs to know about the Eurocentric culture, but the Eurocentric culture isn’t willing to do the same and learn about other cultures. How is that fair? So I feel homegirl on this piece 100%.

If you go to a Latin/Hispanic household and attempt to speak Spanish, guess what, they get happy and excited. You may not speak it well, but they appreciate you taking the time out to try to learn their culture. They embrace you more for it. But when you go to a descendent of a Eurocentric culture and attempt to speak English, they put you down. They’ll say stuff like “You need to learn English” or “This is America, speak English” with a heavy attitude. If they see you’re not Euro descendent, they’ll SCREAM at you in English asking you “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?” as if getting louder is going to change the language barrier. This is a problem. Euro descendants joke at other’s cultures, accents, and language because they feel their culture is superior in comparison to the rest, WHICH ISN’T RIGHT, yet want us to “SPEAK PROPER ENGLISH” and respect it.

Things need to change. I shouldn’t feel ashamed of speaking another language or my native tongue simply because it’s not YOUR CULTURE. You laugh at us but in reality, your culture is based off of taking pieces of EVERYBODY else’s culture from your history to your language. Things need to change and people are being more vocal about the inequalities that colored people are still subjected to living in the States.

Check out Ariana Brown with her piece Dear White Girls In My Spanish Class.