Pop and African Americans

Natalie Maynor maynor at CS.MSSTATE.EDU
Wed Apr 19 15:04:37 UTC 2000

I've got to make myself get back to paper-grading and quit this
e-mailing, but I wanted to report the results of a quicky research
effort.  I went down to our main office a few minutes ago and
asked one of the African American secretaries if she ever said
"pop" for coke.  She said, "Sometimes.  It depends on my
environment."  When I asked her what kind of environment made
her say "pop," she laughed and said "when I'm among my own kind."
The two African American student workers who were listening to
our conversation laughed and nodded.  I told them why I was
asking, and they all three said that my student was right --
that "pop" was the common term among African Americans but
that they often switched to "coke" in inter-racial conversations.
   --Natalie Maynor (maynor at ra.msstate.edu)

PS: This secretary is a good friend of mine and has made clear
that she doesn't mind -- in fact that she enjoys -- being a
resource person on African American language and culture.  I
realize that not everybody feels that way.  One of my students
told me last semester about how annoyed she was with a teacher
she had had the previous year who kept calling on her in class
to give "the African American perspective" on whatever they
were talking about.  She said that it made her feel weird and
that she did not consider herself qualified to speak for the
whole race.

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