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Link for today

April 1, 2010

A photo from the first post at Snacks and Shit

One of my favorite blogs (and me not being a blog reader, this is particularly high esteem) is the humorous site “Snacks and Shit“.  It is a blog on which two white comedians make jokes about silly rap lyrics.  The reason I’m encouraging everyone to look at their site (aside from the laughs you’re likely to have) is to look at their take on African American English.  Because they are looking at these lyrics through a Standard English lense, they often refer to sentences as “just plain wrong” or “not even trying to say it right,” which is a stigma many AAE speakers face every day.  Take a look.

*Note: much of the material on the site contains explicit content.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2010 2:58 pm

    I love Snacks n’ Shit! I think it’s very entertaining. I check it at least once a week.

  2. Brittney permalink
    April 4, 2010 9:52 pm

    I agree that this website demonstrates how many people view and deal with African American English speakers. One passage from the site that I find particularly disturbing commented on the following Jay-Z quote:

    “I was on a Peter Pan bus. You was puttin’ Peter Pan up in your room.”
    – Jay-Z, The Watcher 2

    The response to the quote is:

    “Wow. I suppose you don’t actually have to make any sense if you’re going to rap. You can literally just say… anything.

    You really can’t stand with Bill Gates (above photo) if you’re someone who utters a line like this. I mean, I wonder if Bill Gates could POSSIBLY even know what Jay-Z means. And he’s like… smart.”

    Posted by Chris D’Elia

    I find this response to be extremely disturbing, because it seems to be contrasting the rapper to Bill Gates, whom the writer calls “smart”, which would insinuate that Jay-Z is dumb. The writers, like many critics of African American English speakers, are pointing at language to determine Jay-Z’s intelligence level, which I think is unfair and problematic for many AAE speakers in terms of their confidence levels and potential. Too many AAE speaking students are placed in special education classes or are deemed unteachable, not because of their intelligence or abilities, but because their language is different and does not make sense to their teachers. Regardless of whether this particular Jay-Z quote makes sense to most people or not, I think society should stop using language as the determinant factor for intelligence levels, and focus more on the meaning behind language.

  3. Ayeska permalink*
    April 6, 2010 1:17 am

    I find it incredibly frustrating when people criticize AAE spoken within the context of its own community. Obviously non-AAE speakers are not going to fully comprehend an AAE message, as it draws on cultural and lingustic meanings that are particular to that dialect. While I personally do not know what the latter use of the phrase “Peter Pan” in Jay Z’s song means, I am sure that it is not referring to the Peter Pan bus he mentions earlier in that same line. Most likely there are several meanings for the term “Peter Pan” in either AAE, slang, or whatever culture he is drawing from.

    Although the words of an AAE message may SEEM similar to Standard American English (SAE) they are not always ordered, pronounced, or defined similarly. This is why AAE is considered a dialect of English and not it’s own language, because it’s mutually intelligible among English speakers. However, I would argue that it is not completely mutually intelligible, as SAE-speakers might interpret AAE differently from it’s intended message.

    PS– Simply because Bill Gates is the CEO of Microsoft and is accredited for inventing the computer does not mean he is the most intelligent person alive. From what i understand, the creation of the PC was a joint effort between Gates and a friend; Gates simply patented the idea on his own behind his friend’s back so as to reap the benefits. Regardless, there have also been other equally, if not more, successful people in history.

  4. francescah permalink
    April 6, 2010 4:48 am

    I think this site is really hilarious. While some of what is being made fun of is just African American English, a lot of it is kind of ridiculous in terms of content and the bloggers’ remarks are equally ridiculous and funny.

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