“Excuse me, I Speak Black!”

When Cultures Collide!

There is a famous movie named: Airplane (1980) starring Lloyd Bridges.
It shows a “Clear Clash in Cultures” when two of the passengers start speaking “jive” and the white stewardess does not understand them. So another white passenger, who is listed simply as “Jive lady” interprets for her:

First Jive Dude: Cutty say ‘e can’t HANG!
Jive Lady: Oh stewardess! I speak jive.
Randy: Oh, good.
Jive Lady: He said that he’s in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.
Randy: All right. Would you tell him to just relax and I’ll be back as soon as I can with some medicine?
Jive Lady: Jus’ hang loose, blood. She gonna catch ya up on da’ rebound on da’ med side.
Second Jive Dude: What it is, big mama? My mama no raise no dummies. I dug her rap!
Jive Lady: Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don’ want no help, chump don’t GET da’ help!
First Jive Dude: Say ‘e can’t hang, say seven up!
Jive Lady: Jive ass dude don’t got no brains anyhow! Hmmph!

The key line here is when the white passenger says,
“I speak jive!!!”
Great line!!!

Again everybody has their panties in a wedgie over what is simply a “Clear Cultural Clash!”
As a forty something black man, who grew up in a small country town, to a single mother who only finished the third grade; I must come to my sista’s defense. When you grow up black around mostly blacks (when I was a kid we were Black not African American), you learn the way the people from your community speak…

I remember distinctly going to school and asking the teacher how to spell “Fixing” -definition=getting ready to do. I became quite upset when she told me that my mother did not speak proper english…

Then I went off to a historical black college and ran into the same problem with a very strong articulate elder black sista who was my english professor. She failled me my first semester of english and required that I take her course again because she said, “Boy you are straight off the farm…” I also remember the first time I said, “I reckon.” She would say, “Boy how do you plan to get a job on wall street speaking like that???” Acturally, I did not plan to work on wallstreet. But I learned the correct way of saying things and put the farm behind me… But in recent years to my surprise the slang I ran from is now more mainstream…

Then I took composition…
Here is where I first heard the word “Thesaurus.”
Needless to say I “really” needed one.
Coming from the country, I used two words to describe everything; 1-very and 2-really…
So when I heard Michelle Obama say,

“For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country.”

I said, finally a “Clear Cultural Clash!” I expected it “way” before now. When I heard her speak on Larry King, I said, now this is a sista!!! She looks and talks like a sista. Yes, she is educated but she still has that sista thing underneath.

So now we are here, in the mist of a cultural dilemma all hinging on the real meaning of “Really!”

“Could you use it in a sentence Alec?”

“For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country.”

“What is “Proud for Real!” Alec…”

No harm, no foul… Just speaking Black!!!

“Excuse me, I Speak Black!”


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