Friday, May 28, 2010

Sometimes You Just Gotta Chalk It Up

First and foremost, I'm not one of those black folks who gets a couple of degrees, passes a few tests, and then thinks it's okay to condemn and denigrate the masses of black folks.

I don't launch into diatribes bemoaning the actions of "my people," nor do I get too bent out of shape regarding the typical human excesses that can be found in the black community. While I may complain about rap music "ruining the children" that is done half in jest because as a former voracious consumer of rap music, I know that its reach is limited if parents do their jobs. I say all this because without this disclaimer what I'm about to write might get me branded a lame hater.

I'm puzzled by General Ignorance.

Some of you might be wondering exactly what is "General Ignorance." In the past of I've written about "Arrogant Idiots" and regular readers know I skewer garden-variety ignorance in its myriad forms, but I don't think I've ever discussed "General Ignorance."

General Ignorance is spelling the word "hustle" like "hussle." It's spelling fabulous with an "O" and ludicrous without one. It's status updates on Facebook posted in all caps with cuss words. General Ignorance is embodied by women who think it's acceptable to wear sheer tights with no underwear to the club, and men who are perfectly comfortable with skin tight jeans around their hamstrings.

It's general, and it's ignorant.

I'm not just railing against popular culture and while I may be getting somewhat cranky in my old age, I don't think this is just a sign of me crossing over to the dark side. I refuse to become that type of old man.

I'm honestly just puzzled by these life choices. What goes on in the brain of these types of people? Why is misspelling obvious words cool, or funny? Why is dressing like a cheap prossie "sexy?" I mean, I used to sag, but why wear pants that are too short and too tight? This just seems silly.

And these aren't the only examples of general ignorance that I'm bothered by. Don't forget about racially-themed parties, or dressing up like Klan members and Nazis. Or dropping racial slurs in your everyday conversation like that just makes sense.

Can anybody explain General Ignorance? Is it simply a case of lacking home training, as the old folks would say? Are that many parents failing their children? If that's true, then we need to stop shaking our heads at the young people and start punching old people in the mouths!

Anyway, can y'all think of some examples of general ignorance that astound and puzzle you?



Blackgirlinmaine said...

I am convinced that parents have completely abdicated all sense of responsibility when it comes to raising their kids. Hence why we now have a new crop of youngsters that seem completely lost, get my point. I got a few years on you and I came up in the 1980's, hell my first concert was Public Enemy back when Flav was not a professional coon.

Part of it is no one wants to get old, I am almost 40 yet so many of my peers refuse to except that we are hitting middle age. So we are so caught up in trying to be young and hip that we are doing a poor job in raising the kids.

So you get folks who think ignorance is cool and hip.

unknown said...

General Ignorance is when somebody calls you out for speaking proper English as if you're not supposed to.

General Ignorance is when somebody acts surprised/doubtful that you listen to music other than R&B or hip hop (or speak another language or whatever) as if you live in a tiny Black bubble.

KonWomyn said...

Nuffin wrng wit mizzpellin. Langwich iz neva a stable ting in soc. We liv in a flueed worl', langwich iz flueed, itinually everchangin'. Many dialkts, urbn slng n creolizashuns of langwich hav happnd az a rezult of 'wrng spelln' or 'fuzin tongz'. Knoh ur historee, hundrid yrs ago u n I wld b considurd 2 dull 2 lurrrn. Plenty ejukated writerz, lyk Ken Saro Wiwa hav xperimentd wit bastardizyng Eenglish to 'mek it bear th burdn of historee' as Jemz Baldwin sed.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Konwymn is right about language being fluid.

Also, it's not always the parents failing their kids, a lot of the don't know any better themselves. I also see it as a combination of factors. Generational rebellion to have their own style, and see it A LOT in my oldest kid from use of language to the tattoos which a bunch of the young'uns get now.

We did similar things too. We went from Colored to Negro to Black to African American. We began wearing afros and braids which freaked out the elders (while white kids sported long hair and tie dye tees), we began wearing sneakers and jogging suits to do things other than sports. The shortcuts in language changes were fueled by the Internet. Since spellcheck is available, it's a to a large degree a choice. And of course, some people never could spell worth a damn, and that cuts across race. I once saw samples of letters to and from WWII servicemen and they looked like they were written by 3rd graders.

Lastly, I think this culture has an adolescent mentality fueled by the advertising world. Sex sells, youth is overvalued, and anti-intellectualism is promoted (see Sarah Palin and her crowd as a perfect example of the latter).

truth said...

Big Man,
I think KIT pretty much nailed it with her comment. It is a combination of factors that has led to the increase of general ignorance in our society today. People raise their children as special and better than anyone else, so they are going to do exactly what they want. They feel their entitled to do so.

The media does seem to spend too much time focusing on the most narcissistic people in our country. From reality TV stars to Sarah Palin, the people with the most over inflated sense of self seem to get the majority of air time. Thus, regular folk copy them thinking this behavior is acceptable.

Big Man said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Konwomyn and KIT

I understand your point about the fluidity of language, I've made it myself in the past. But, I'm skeptical that the folks doing the changing now are doing it to make a statement. Or because they really don't know how to spell words. I think they're doing it because they believe it looks "cool" and I just disagree. It looks dumb, to me.

It's one thing for an artist to experiment with language as part of a piece, it's something else to misspell the name of your corporation. That is a problem.

Raving Black Lunatic