Monday, January 11, 2010

Being in Black Face X

Senator Harry Reid made a statement in support of the then Senator Obama's presidency referring to him a "light-skinned" African-American who lacked a "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." (By the way, I have never heard of any white dialects. Have you? Come to think of it people in the deep south say around the hills of Tennessee generally sound alike to me.) There have been Republican senators and leaders calling for Reid to step down.

Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, was one of those calling for Reid to step down, saying that the comment was "racist." This was particularly peculiar coming from the man who has basically become a laughing stock with his gaffes and poses. Below are examples of these. For the good of the Republican Party, it looks like Steele is the one that should step down.

"We need messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

Steele called President Obama's stimulus "bling bling." All he needs is a stage comparable to Al Jolson's. He would be positioned properly.


Bob Foster said...

Over the past 2 or 3 decades I have had maybe 6 different strangers say to me:

"You're from Michigan, aren't you."
"Yes, how did you know."
"Because of your manner of speech."

Judith -- do we Michiganders have our own dialect?

Judith Ellis said...

Yes we do, Bob. When I first spoke with Dave Wheeler on the phone he said I can tell you're from Michigan. He has relatives here and he said that we sound alike. After traveling and living all over the world and speaking more than a few languages, my Michigan accent can still be detected. This makes me think of something. When we speak of dialect are we not just speaking of the ebb and flow of the voice but sentence structure and how words are altered and used? Do accents typically refer to the tone and of the voice and how it ebbs and flows? I think of a Michigan accent and not a dialect. Ebonics and Yiddish are dialects.