Talking Ghetto

My father regularly expresses his displeasure at the way I communicate verbally. He laments you talk ghetto. From others, I have heard ” What part of the South are you from?”  Many have asked me are you from Mississippi. My maternal and paternal grandparents were from Mississippi. My maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother were instrumental in raising me. I loved the hear them talk. I knew the dialect they spoke was not grammatically correct, but it sounded beautiful.  The way they spoke, I could picture what they were saying. It is because of them I focus more on the feeling aspect of communication, than grammatical and syntax.

I appreciate folktales and as Zora Neele Hurston states in  Characteristics of Negro Expression. I am full of drama just like Hurston explains negro communication is. My grandparents did the best they could. My paternal grandmother had the most education finishing high school in Greenwood Mississippi.  Paul (my maternal grandfather) only had an eight-grade education.  My grandma Helen was limited to an eight-grade education as well. They were all sharecroppers. Not many generations away from slavery. During slavery, educating blacks was forbidden.

I love the parable and mother wit saying they used to educate. It took me a long time to  mimic their speech but I speak with a southern dialect with pride. I learned southern dialect from wise people.


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