[Ads-l] Twerk the night away

Margaret Lee 0000006730deb3bf-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Fri Jun 26 10:17:45 UTC 2015


I agree that African Americans have been given little credit for their prolific contributions to American/world culture. My ongoing research (as previously stated on this list) focuses on the linguistic contributions of African Americans to the American English lexicon. (See 'Out of the Hood and Into the News: Black Verbal Expressions in a Mainstream Newspaper,' American Speech, Vol. 74, No. 4, Winter 1999). Some of the many examples of lexical items that originated in (or were popularized in) the African American community and have gone mainstream: high-five, haters, shout-out, back in the day, swagger/swag, let's do this, break it down, bling, he said-she said, rip off. These reflect the linguistic creativity of African Americans  and seem to have filled a gap in the world of popular and mainstream expression.  
--Margaret Lee  
 
      From: Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
 To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
 Sent: Friday, June 26, 2015 1:01 AM
 Subject: Re: Twerk the night away
   

Black culture in the United States is an original, built from the ground
up, by African slaves and their descendants and that culture has gone on to
affect aspects of every other culture on the face of the earth. It is, on
the face of it, a truly amazing accomplishment. Surely, this is the most
astounding instance of "topping from the bottom" in the history of mankind.
Yet "African-Americans," whether holding doctorates or crack pipes, have no
interest whatsoever in taking credit for having created a wholly-original
culture out of bits and pieces of the cultures of so-called
"racially-superior" peoples and the few remnants of their own various
original cultures. Rather, in their desire to be regarded as supposedly
"equal," in some ill-defined sense of the term, to these erstwhile
"superiors," they prefer to pass up credit for having produced another
Novus Ordo Seclorum fully as marvelous as the first, as opposed to
accepting weak acknowledgment as having been the economic engine of the
success of the other one and, instead, ape the white model of cultural
history. They thereby give to others, who have and have had nothing
whatsoever to do with shaping, and being shaped by, the black experience in
America, all of the credit for their successes, even as they continue to
bear all of the blame for their failures: "Nothing except the embarrassment
of slavery began with us, here in the New World. We can trace the origin of
the culture of our people back to the Old World, too, just like white folk
can! 1619 Virginia? Feh!" Because the "European-Americans," as they feel no
compulsion whatsoever to style themselves, choose to trace what they adduce
to themselves as "Western" - or even solely "European" - civilization back
to the distant ancestors of today's peoples of the Middle East,
"African-Americans" feel that they must likewise arrogate to themselves a
cultural history that supposedly has its origins elsewhere in time and
space other than in the American South as though that claim of non-American
origin, - if we could only *prove* it! - in the past were, somehow, to be
regarded as having genuine relevance to, and a source of pride for, black
Americans today. "African-Americans" apparently lay great store on being
able to say, even in the case of a matter as trivial as a way of
rhythmically clapping one's buttocks instead of one's hands,

"We didn't build that! Africa built that!"

to coin a paraphrase.

_Jambo, bwana!_

-- 
-Wilson
-----
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


   

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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