EB: Giving ’em the business!

Brain dumps from the original Bonehead.

Wait… what did you call me?

It's amazing how something can be right in front of your face for so long and you just never realize it until someone comes along and points it out to you.  I had that kind of experience a few months ago and although it probably shouldn't have, it did bother me.

Here we go again…  To the Bat-Time Machine, Robin!!

Damn right.  It's unfortunate that I don't remember where the beacon of enlightenment came from but if I had to take a guess it was the premier episode of The Boondocks; where one of the main characters was angered by being repeatedly referred to as "well-spoken".   I can identify with the little crumb snatcher from the tv show because I too often received that compliment as a child.

And that's exactly how I took it – in my eternal quest to simplify all that I encounter, when someone used these words to describe me I took it as a compliment.  Well.  Spoken.  A simple two-word phrase used to describe someone who possesses impressive verbal skills, right?  Of course!  How else could you possibly interpret it? 

That's where the cartoon comes in.  It's an edgy satire that specifically takes shots at today's African-American culture and race relations.  During the first episode a young Black boy was making comments deliberately intended to anger some wealthy White adults at a garden party; "Jesus was Black."  "Ronald Reagan was the devil." stuff like that…  Instead of being even the slightest bit annoyed they applauded him for being so well-spoken; which, of course, infuriated him to no end.

Here comes the boom.

Yeah.  That's when it hit me.  It became such commonplace that I truly have no idea how many times I was called well-spoken as a child but the one thing I do know is that from the second grade to the ninth, when I attended accelerated classes in predominantly White schools I've never in my life heard a smart White kid referred to as well-spoken!

Am I reading too much into it?  If the intention was purely complimentary, shouldn't knowing that be enough?  You don't compliment people for breathing, you expect it of them…  what if the unspoken implication is "you speak well for a Black kid"?  Despite harmless surface intentions or should any kind of deep-seeded, subconscious racism lurking behind the "compliment" be justification enough to set a motherfucker's shoes on fire and watch them burn?

 -E

April 5, 2006 - Posted by | Personal Revelations

4 Comments »

  1. “what if the unspoken implication is “you speak well for a Black kid”?”

    That is such an excellent observation! Now I am starting to wonder about that comment now……wow……

    I guess SOME PEOPLE expect ‘da Ebonics’ to come shooting out of our mouths, but when we are ‘eloquent’….well…..surprise – surprise!!

    Again, good observation!

    Comment by Poca | April 5, 2006 | Reply

  2. White folks told the same thing from childhood to early adulthood and I too took it as a compliment. Also, I was picked on, given dirty looks and even received nasty comments from other blacks because of the way I spoke (and because of my looks).

    Comment by Nikki | April 7, 2006 | Reply

  3. Today is a special day, isn't it???

    ………..It would be really bad if I'm wrong :/

    Comment by Poca | April 6, 2006 | Reply

  4. I stand corrected: While watching “Real Time With Bill Maher” tonight, he referred to another White man as well-spoken. Hrm… I wonder if Billy Boy has been reading my site?

    Comment by barber | April 8, 2006 | Reply


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