Dichotomy of Race and Language: A Girl from The Hood
When I was growing up we could not say finna, ain't or lie.
Slang in general would unleash an automatic correction-
and scowl. You don't want to irritate my mother.
Dropping the endings of words-
Correction. And the ominous skies
before the storm.
Where I grew up, everybody said dang, finna, doin'.
Everybody went to the neighborhood school.
My sister and I at eight and seven caught the bus
to a better school- according to my mother.
We were often teased: "Why, y'all talk white?"
I live in the suburbs; a single, educated woman
with two daughters. Our favorite food is Indian.
I work for an established reference publisher.
My peers are liberal, middle class and educated.
We eat lunch together, debate social ills, talk about
latest art films, exhibits and what we're reading.
We visit each other. I read poetry at their weddings.
Inevitably though, someone slips up: "You don't
talk like other black people."
Today's PAD prompt is outsider. I would have preferred not choosing race, but the truth is the dichotomy of race, culture and language hugely colored my upbringing. It was a natural choice when I read the prompt so I went with it.
Today is Poetry Friday. Find more poetry reads at ayuddha.net.