Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"it's hard for someone with my personality"

In class we mentioned that Tyler Perry writing as a woman and on behalf of women gives him an opportunity to not only make valid arguments but also have free reign of what is said without having to accept total responsibility.  With that said, the success of the book (the lessons, advice, stories) relies on the ability to balance genders and cultures.

            Finding a balance between genders and cultures means having to rely on language in order to satisfy all parties.  “Code-switching”, or switching between informal and formal speech depending on the persons present and the context, was also brought up in class.  Code-switching is a very interesting term; switching is quite obvious, there is a transformation occurring, but code is an interesting way to phrase or define what is happening.  It almost implies that, for example, informal language, or slang or the “whore”, “bitch”, “hoe”, etc that we refer to one another as, would not be understood by another party.  Which, I guess, is ultimately true.  Most people clearly understand the above stated terms yet without knowing the context they are being used in there is potential for one to miss that they are, in actuality, terms of endearment! (Hoping that the sarcasm shines through here!)

            Madea has clearly found a successful balance with her word choices and language but what is even better is that according to the “disclaimer” in the beginning of the book, Madea says whatever she wants to whoever she wants, which is why “a person with her personality wouldn’t make it in corporate America”.  It seems like our society needs to take lessons from Madea and stay away from the code-switching… I’m assuming most people wouldn’t be running around referring to parents, bosses, priests, superiors as the “n” word or any other potentially offensive “nickname” so there is a great potential to eliminate said “nicknames” or “friendly greetings” all together.  Because while I do agree that being offended by certain things gives power to words and therefore gives them the ability to be hurtful and malicious, the reality is that some words DO have negative connotations and simply because of that fact they shouldn’t be a part of everyday language much less a way to greet someone. 

             Along those lines… I’m doing my service at Guilford with Mr. Smith and the It’s Academic team.  Typically when I arrive students are being dismissed and are walking through the halls.  Obviously, I understand that using curse words is cool, I get that, but some of the language that is used is pretty shocking (and it isn’t all of the students but it is a good amount).  And as much as I would love to say that these middle schoolers are “reclaiming the words” (because why else would let someone speak to you in such a manner) or that they don’t truly know what they mean, I can’t, because the second they walk into the classroom their entire demeanor changes and the profanity is no where to be found.  Obviously, this is code-switching at its finest… when with friends the language is cool and accepted yet when an adult or someone of authority is present they suddenly remember that some things are inappropriate. 

            I am probably coming across as sounding really stupid for the fact that I am so set about this but I honestly feel like as humans we should respect one another.  And I think that there is something to be said for the fact that a majority of people would admit that they have no problem calling their friend a bitch but wouldn’t dare tell their mom “good morning bitch” or something to that affect.  Isn’t that a red flag? And how/where do you draw the line?  How can you limit being called by offensive terms to only your friends (i.e. how can you get upset when a perfect stranger comes up and says “hey whore” yet find it to be comforti

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