Classic Mean Girls moment but in reverse…
This wasn’t a statement from a movie but actual words said to me, right after I said “Hi my name is..” This beyond awkward moment was during my first college party, asked by no other than a fellow African student (sigh).
My initial thoughts were to laugh but what came out was an angry “excuse me?”. He proceeded to ask me again, I said, “Do you mean, proper, I’m speaking properly…” and I walked away before he could answer. As a first generation college student, I thought my fellow associates would have a hand on discriminatory statements such as those. I was wrong, very wrong.
My proper speech which I had for 18 years of life would automatically put me in lack of a better term, the “oreo committee ” (“black” on the outside, “white” on the inside) category of African Americans. What an awesome way to start off college.
The way we speak gives people a distinct definition of you before you even get to know them on a deeper level. Since we as the human race yearn for social acceptance many people try to reinvent themselves. That was my plan, I didn’t want to be known as the “lame girl” so, the next day I decided I was going to change how I spoke and through in a few “yall’s” and not enunciate every letter in every word I spoke.
I failed, tremendously. It felt fake, forced, and just so unnatural.
I decided to embrace the way I spoke because, changing a piece of myself for everyone else was absurd. One college degree and three internships later, I realized the decision I made to keep my natural speech was very important.
My proper speech did not mean that I was any less “black, or African, or African American” than the next person.
My proper speech does not belong to a race, or color of skin. It belongs to an educated woman of caliber and significance.
Moral of the story: I am not saying that you should be proper all the time (anyone would go insane), but do not belittle yourself by sub-coming to speech that does not reflect the type of person you would like to be portrayed as..
Trust me there are many jobs, internships, opportunities waiting for you and your immaculate speech, I can not complain and will not apologize for the way I speak and neither should you.