All too often lately we are seeing reports of individuals taking to social networks to chastise people from other cultural backgrounds to ‘Speak English!’. In most cases it takes place after a sporting event where an athlete might excitedly break into Spanish or perhaps an urban slant on English, at which point the angry, often aggressive, militant takes it upon themselves to instruct the subject to ‘Speak English!’. This played out last night after the BCS Championship as Florida State’s breathless, overjoyed Quarterback Jameis Winston attempted to answer some post-game questions. Dee Dee McCarron, mother of Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron, decided to Tweet the following:
The Tweet has since been deleted and the standard ‘I am not racist’ apology has been hurried up in its place.
There are obviously a number of issues with Dee Dee McCarron’s idiotic Tweet.
First of all, shouting at someone to ‘Speak English!’ is effectively ordering someone to communicate in a certain way. It is unusual of anyone to demand that anyone communicate with anyone else in a particular way, but even more so in a country, the United States, where freedom of speech and expression, in other-words freedom of communication, is expressly protected by the constitution of that country. It is very interesting to see certain groups demand the freedom of speech allowed in the constitution to, for example, protect a hate-filled television show that spouts racist rhetoric ad nauseum, and then deny that same freedom of expression, speech and communication to other groups and peoples.
Apparently freedom of speech (and communication) only applies if you are a fat, middle aged white guy who is angry about something.
The second point is an off-shoot of the above, and that is the United States is a vast boiling pot of cultures and peoples, and that comes with a myriad of varieties of languages and variations of those languages. Dee McCarron is from Alabama, and her Twitter account is full of those adorable little southern quirks like ‘Ya’ll’ and so forth. To my knowledge nobody has shouted ‘Speak English!’ to Dee McCarron, despite the fact that she is taking part in a massive bastardization of the American-English language on a daily basis.
That anyone from Alabama should comment on any other human beings usage of the English language is rather ironic, to say the least.
Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that nobody in the United States really speaks English. Instead a bastardization of the English language called American-English is used, a particularly lazy language that effectively drops letters and simplifies words for its users. The correct English spelling of the word Colour changes instead to the lazier, shorter, Color in the United States. If Dee McCarron and all those other confused individuals who impeach upon others to ‘Speak English!’ wanted to be technically correct, as it would appear they are cajoling others to be, they would in fact stipulate that the subject of their ire should ‘Speak American-English!’.
One final thought, the interview itself. Considering a number of elements, the context of the interview, the unprepared nature of the response, the excitement of just having won such a big game, and in such a dramatic manner, and finally considering the clearly overjoyed and thus extra excited nature of the man giving the delivery, frankly this author (or, author, if you wish to use American-English) thinks that the communication in question was actually a thing of beauty. Every sentence is free, easy and quite entertaining to listen to. The message is colourful, humble and good natured.
Jameis Winston’s post-game interview:
It is so sad that someone in a position of responsibility (someone with a large following of very easily suggestible peoples on Twitter) would then take from that same communication the desire to spread a shorter message of aggressive, hate filled dominance.
Jameis Winston spoke, clearly, emotionally and entertainingly, from the heart.
Let’s just hope Dee McCarron was not doing same.
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