Should We Start A Campaign To Save The English Language?
Recent Commentary From Bill Cosby
"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't, Where you is, What he drive, Where he stay, Where he work, Who you be...' and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. In fact, you will never get any kind of job making a decent living. People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around. The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids. $500 sneakers for what? And, they won't spend $200.00 for Hooked On Phonics. I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol? And, where is the father? Or, who IS his father? People putting their clothes on backwards: Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong? People with their hats on backwards, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something? Or, are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and has all types of needles [piercings] going through her body? What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don't know a thing about Africa. With names like Shamiqua, Taliqua and Mohammed, and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail. Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person's problem. We have got to take the neighborhood back. People used to be ashamed. Today, a woman has eight children with eight different 'husbands' or men or whatever you call them now. [maria interjects: I think they call them 'significant others.'] We have millionaire football players who cannot read. We have million dollar basketball players who can't write two paragraphs. We, as black folks have to do a better job. Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us. We have to start holding each other to a higher standard. We cannot blame the white people any longer."
- End of Dr. Bill Cosby's Commentary-
Dr. Cosby, I cannot agree with you more. But it is no longer only the blacks doing this, behaving and speaking this way. The whites are also to blame. Apparently, they think it is cute to talk this way, and to sing this way. Just look at the lyrics in the songs that are in the top ten today, and you will see what I mean. We raise to the top, songs with words like "promiscuous" in them. Not only do we accept words like this in songs, now, but I see a growing trend in incorrect English; hillbilly English. This generation seems to applaud that. Now, a ten year old would know what that word means, while in my time (30 years ago) nobody would even think of putting such a word into a song, and much less would it be aired on national radio, and additionally, a ten year old would not have that word in their vocabulary. It is what you focus on, and this generation would prefer to focus on those ugly things about life. There will always be ugly things about life. But why focus on them? This generation seems to like pain (are you kidding, I would never put a hole through my tongue, lip, cheek, or nostril, and/because I hate going to the dentist). I would never get a permanent, colorful etching on my skin with a needle either, no matter how pretty it is. Ouch. I'd rather wear pretty art on a shirt or a handbag. I am appalled sometimes at all the things my little ten year old neighbor girl knows. When I was ten, I was still playing with Barbie Dolls, and did not know about the birds and the bees. I know too many young products of this generation. They live with their grandmas. Their mothers have children with other men, and their fathers are in jail off and on. They are not alone. Thousands live this way in America. What has happened to the wholesome American Way of Life? Is it that it really wasn't that wholesome after all? Can we still take it back? Where did it go wrong? Where is this mind set leading America to? Language is just a reflection of the way we think. Is technology making us lazy thinkers because all we have to do is press a button and wonderful things happen that we take for granted? How about computer shorthand, those little symbols kids are using to communicate? I can't even understand them. When does slang stop being slang to become a part of the actual speech of a language? Have you ever thought of that? I will tell you. It is by usage. The more an expression is used, the more it will become an accepted part of speech. Yes, soon "you ain't" and other inconsistencies will become a real part of our language and they will even appear in the dictionary in time, if we do not do something about it. Is that how we really want to sound? Think before you open your mouth next time, to utter incorrect English. Be an example to others.
Is my generation to blame for this onset of what appears to be degeneration? When Mick Jaggar sang, "I ain't got no......satisfaction" (and note that he is from England) did that start something? I know the British probably feel that we degenerated their language...after all, they are the "motherland." We certainly don't speak like they do, though. We even have different words such as "elevator" which contrasts to their "lift." They say, "Where is the 'loo,'" and we say, "Where is the bathroom?" When a people break off from the mainland, things change. Accents change. Words change. Attitudes change. What is happening in America? Does it have to be Ghetto?
We cannot blame it on the influx of the 4 million illegal Mexicans who come over the border every year. Else, we'd be adapting to their customs....but that is not the case, and that would be the subject of an entirely different hub. I think the degeneration we see is just a sub-culture that is growing because it is deemed to be "cool," and there must be a lot of young people out there who think it is so. But wait, I've seen older people thinking it is cool, too. But I ask them now, to re-think what road they are taking, where this is leading them, so that they might reconsider and re-focus on more positive thoughts in their music, in their speech, and in their fashion.
We become what we think about......so let's start thinking positively and with constructive thoughts for our world. The rest will take care of itself.
Dr. Bill Cosby
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