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  • Topic: Black people, Race, African American
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  • Published : November 17, 2010
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Cody Dunaway
English Comp II
Mrs. Clark
Allison Joseph I Don’t Speak Like a Black Person
Speech has always been important; yet being judged by how to speak on a daily basis is what many go through. Not everyone speaks the same, which is why each person is unique. The author Allison Joseph of the poem “On Being Told I Don’t Speak Like a Black Person,” has an precise frame of mind on how people believe that all black people speak differently than others. There is not a certain language that people should speak; it is passed down or learned while growing up. Allison states in the texts “Now I realize there’s nothing more personal than speech that I don’t have to defend how I speak, how any person, black, white, chooses to speak. Let us speak, let us talk.” The poem has a strong meaning and presents the meaning in an admirable way. Allison wrote the poem “On Being Told I Don’t Speak Like a Black Person,” because she, herself has always been told she does not speak like a black person, for whatever reasons. Allison wanted to analyze this in her poem, and she does very well. Allison tells a poem of a girl who explains that she is angered that “I am always being told that I don't speak like a black person.” I believe that people assume that a black person speaks a specific way. So when hearing a black person speak properly it is very odd to many. Allison Joseph begins the poem out with a story that her mother told her “Emphasize the “h,” you hignorant ass, was what my mother was told when colonial-minded teachers slapped her open palm with a ruler in that Jamaican school room trained in England, they tried to force their pupils to speak like Eliza Doolittle after her transformation, fancying themselves British as Henry Higgins.” The first stanza makes a strong articulation; just because her speech was different it was considered wrong or dumb. The girls’ mom never lost her accent, “No one in the States told her to eliminate the accent, my high school...
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