Leslie Savan

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ENC 1102
27 January 2011

In Leslie Savan’s essay “What’s Black, Then White, and Said All Over?”, Savan writes about the importance of African American vernacular in the United States today. Black English has ultimately changed society with new terms and slangs. For instance, such slangs as “yo, what’s hanging, chill out, hook up, ain’t, ight ” and many more, have been adapted in day-to-day conversations, songs, magazines, and television causing a tremendous change in marketing. Although black slang has positively affected many companies by reaching out to young audiences through advertisements, not every commercial was pleasing to the crowd. The website www.wwnorton.com mentions a certain example. A man by the name of Sylvester Brown Jr. from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, talks about a certain commercial he saw on television a few years back that was trying to reach out to the African American audience. When Brown saw a car commercial showing a group of young blacks dancing to the “Electric Slide” while a car drove by, he recalled asking himself “What does the Electric Slide have to do with cars?”. Commercials such as these seem to draw consumers away instead of reeling them in. Another case has been with the new 2010 Toyota commercial. On the website www.theurbandaily.com , writers angrily talk about how many viewers were offended by the new Toyota rap commercial and how it was mocking black slang. To many people in the audience, the commercial seemed to have “killed” the term “Swagger”. Many advertisers do not seem to take in consideration that certain approaches using black slang can be condescending and disrespectful to African Americans, causing their company to lose clients. Throughout Savan’s essay, she constantly refers back to the importance of the African American vernacular and how it has exceedingly caused a positive change in marketing, but what Savan forgets to mention is that not all media-related advertisements using black slang have had...
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