“At the Family Reunion! Who We Introducin’? Who We Introducin’?”

*This is the second attempt to write this blog since all of my work was erased.*

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Over the past week, I was given prompts and questions to sort out the next steps for my thesis. The first one was:

-How does family plays a part in language and the politics that comes with it?

A family is something that not everybody has. I think about this a lot. I come from a huge family. By being the youngest, I was always around adults. I never understood what they were talking about when it came to sports, politics, or relationships. However, it wasn’t about understanding the meaning behind it, but it was the language that surrounded me.

Besides my parents, brothers, and other extended family members, I grew up with Southern grandparents. Hearing words such as, “ain’t” and “y’all” was normal. Pronouncing “remember” as “member” or “because” as “cause.” Even the use of my grammar and sentence structure when I would say phrases like, “I been seen that,” was deemed acceptable in my household. It was not until I stepped out of my home and away from my family that I realized I spoke differently from others; or as people would say, “speaking wrong.”

Despite the negative feedback and negligence of teaching, the beauty of my family was that when we spoke in our own language amongst ourselves, it was a safe place. It didn’t matter what degrees people had in the room or if someone didn’t finish high school, we all spoke the same language.

Reflecting back on how I grew up and the type of education I received, my grammar was never corrected. For the benefit of learning and being the best students I could be, I believe that opportunity was never given to me. It was not until my first year of undergraduate school that I had an instructor who was honest but passionate and cared. I think when it comes to the educational system, many holes need fixing. Instead of trying to teach me, I was automatically considered “dumb and black” just because of the way I spoke. When in reality, there was nothing “wrong” with the way I spoke or what my language was. I was unaware that not only me but my entire family has been speaking African American Vernacular English so eloquently. It almost feels like someone, in a higher power position, has been withholding important information from us that’s about us to keep us in the same status that we’re currently in. (Boy…sounds familiar?)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe when it comes to “rules” in writing in a classroom setting is good. It creates structure and a foundation for the subjects being learned. However, what I don’t think is a good thing is how we go about teaching kids who use Standard English as their second language. The reason why this topic of language in the black community and family has struck a nerve is because of what I see every day. Specifically my grandparents. I have realized that when they are around people who “speak properly,” have more education, or are a different race, they become ashamed of their language. It hurts my heart because of three things:

  1. Their race and the era they grew up in, they were denied access to education. Not because they weren’t smart but because of various laws in the U.S.
  2. It’s not their fault that ignorance goes beyond skin tone but even how they speak.
  3. No one taught them (or any of us) to be proud of their language. They are the roots of how I speak every day, and that is something I am proud of.

The second prompt was:

-Describe my books/story ideas. Is it worth telling?

There are two book/story ideas that I cherish but have been waiting for the right time to pursue it. The first one does not have a title yet. All the characters are fleshed out and what the focus is. The story is about a group of friends who went to college together who are now working in their fields. A new woman who starts working at their job catches the eye of our main character, Nathaniel Lee. However, she is also hiding a secret that puts her, Nathaniel, and Nathaniel’s friends in danger with the FBI. I did a lot of research with biology and science to come up with the main plot of this story. Since this story has more dialogue than prose writing, I would probably want to format this story has a screenplay.

The second story is called, “The Girl with the Red Timberlands”; a realistic fiction story about various stories and events that happens to the main character, Peak. Chapters such as “Little White Casket,” “Virgin Night,” and “The Ibis Hotel” would be in it. It’s the story of childhood, high school years, and college life tying into what the future holds for Peak. The unique twist to this book is that the story is told backward, which means her college life would be told first, then high school, and then childhood.

The reason why I think both of these stories are worth telling is because they will represent not only people who look like my family and me but other races as well. Diversity is a great reason to tell these stories. Both of these stories have been in the works for several years now. I am confident that an overwhelming amount of joy and accomplishment will come from finishing them.

The last prompt was:

-Develop one idea that we didn’t talk about.

Over the past week, I thought about maybe making a documentary for my thesis. I’ll have a write-up and a video as well. It’s not an idea that is set in stone in my heart, but it is something new that I thought about. My goal for next week is to have an even more detailed thought out idea to start writing my Early Proposal.

Until Next Time!

Thesis and a Whole Lot of Coffee!


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