Lot of stuff to unpack here.

If you need to go as far back as 50 years to tell me about an anecdote where you used a Redneck accent because you were in a bit of a bind, you probably haven’t used code-switching a whole lot. I linked an article explaining what code-switching is exactly so I wouldn’t have to explain that the kind of code-switching I’m writing about here isn’t the only one. I’m writing about day-to-day life here — Black English to Standard English, Spanish to English, etc. where people naturally change the way they speak depending on the setting. For multilinguals or POCs, code-switching isn’t just a get-out-of-trouble card, it’s a regular Tuesday.

People do, actually, analyze the linguistic sophistication of Black English. I invite you to read up on John McWhorter. Won’t bother adding a link, though. “When anybody else hears black people speaking Black English, they take that as a declaration that “I’m not like you. I’m different.” Please, try not to lump everyone in your extremely narrow-minded worldview, it’s a bad look. Black people speaking Black English don’t do it to set themselves apart from standard English users — it’s just how they talk. Also, how you can compare a unique linguistic feature to your lack of fashion sense decades ago is beyond me. Your personal experience doesn’t always add to an argument.

“As a Frenchman, I don’t think you’re in any position to criticize speakers of standard English for resenting Black English.” Irrelevant. Again, one person doesn’t speak for a whole nation. Using the fact that I’m French to tell me how I think about language is very weak. The French Academy and their contempt for borrowing English words doesn’t speak for me. Also, you’re so proud of yourself for absconding with all sorts of French words and phrases, does that mean my language is part of your mainstream culture or does it mean that whenever you use a French word, you’re distancing yourself from the mainstream culture? I’m confused as to which language you deem worthy of entering the mainstream culture.

“People are proud of their language and resent any attempts to compromise it. All people are. This behavior isn’t racist, sexist, or other-ist. It’s just human nature.” I’m bored. This is getting repetitive. What you think isn’t necessarily what we should abide by, nor is it the standard that other people have, blah blah blah. ‘It’s just human nature’ is the laziest argument for just about anything. You keep going back and forth between your personal experience and “everybody” which definitely signals a lack of nuance that completely disregards everything in-between, and I’m really not interested in that nonsensical ‘me=the world’ narcissistic worldview.

English graduate student and freelance writer based in France. Words at Level, Elemental, Gen, Human Parts, etc. Email: abderemane.m.assad@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store