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He Talk Like A White Boy

Darn that La Shawn Barber. I am already too far behind on my reading and now she has written about a book that I am just going to have to read. The name of the book is He Talk Like A White Boy and her review is posted at NRO.

The opening anecdote of the 232-page book sets the tone and reveals what eventually becomes a lifelong frustration. After he made a comment in his junior high school accelerated English class, another black student said, "He talk like a white boy!" What does that mean? Phillips thought. Instead of chastising the girl or dealing with the substance of the remark, the teacher merely corrected her grammar.

"No, LaQueesha. Joseph speaks like a white boy!" The teacher had the entire class repeat the correct sentence. "[T]hat moment," writes Phillips, "was not only the beginning of junior high school, it was the beginning of my life."

Phillips began to recognize what he calls the "tyranny of opinion"--the idea that a self-anointed group stood at the doors of culture and determined who was or wasn't black enough. As a conservative columnist and speaker, Phillips receives his share of letters and e-mail from members of this group who sling ad hominem attacks (usually anonymously) but rarely deal with the substance of his work. "In their minds," he writes, "I no longer speak like a white boy, I now think like a white boy."

Comments (10)

I just ordered it through A... (Below threshold)

I just ordered it through Amazon. I love forcing sales numbers for conservative books upward!

Lorie - let's compare notes when we're both done with it.

Loose stuff: open anchor ta... (Below threshold)

Loose stuff: open anchor tag.

Well at least Bill Cosby ha... (Below threshold)

Well at least Bill Cosby has company now.

Sad commentary on racism pr... (Below threshold)

Sad commentary on racism promulgated by professional victims, highlighted as a stark opposite to the current LA radical Hispanic school terror (which immediately brought to mind the Black Panthers and their involvement with education back in the day).

The book is excellent, but ... (Below threshold)

The book is excellent, but even though the race issues were interesting, what I got out of it was society's need for men. His essay about being a mentor was interesting, and his views on the critical need for fathers were all throughout the book.

So the TV son in law of the... (Below threshold)

So the TV son in law of the Cos writes a book about ignorant black people who think speaking well means speaking white. Mmmmm so where is the story here? What's scary, is that I guarantee you this book will be a best seller among conservative whites. More salve for their souls, because here is another black man agreeing with their point of view, so at least on matters of race, they are on the right side of the debate. Well, not quite. Mr. Phillips shares his own personal experience growing up,--teased for speaking properly [not white], he even uses a classic sterotypical black name (La Quessha) -which, by the way, I doubt was even the person's name- and now wants to paint all black people with one broad brush. This will work with white peopple for the reasons I mentioned above, but black people will see right through it. Too many of us grew up understanding that speaking properly was important to succeed in life, and the thought of teasing one of our own for trying, was never even a considered.

There is a lot of ignorance in many black communities- sadly, ignorance and poverty often go hand in hand- and the negative influences our children face when it comes to learning is a problem. But for Mr. Phillips to suggest that most black people who aspire to do well are somehow being pressured no to, is, well... laughable. [Now he be talken like a white boy fer real :)]

I haven't seen Mr.Phillips in any acting roles lately. Maybe he should be working on his acting skills, and stop trying to be a conservative writer.

...for Mr. Phillips to s... (Below threshold)

...for Mr. Phillips to suggest that most black people who aspire to do well are somehow being pressured no to, is, well... laughable.

Yeah, laughable. There is no way that there could possibly be a widespread movement to legitimize speaking improperly by calling it "ebonics." Furthermore the idea that one could be called an "oreo" or an "uncle tom" by one's peers and/or teachers for lack of ideological and social conformity is just crazy. I'm practically rolling in the floor now.

If the city of Oakland repr... (Below threshold)

If the city of Oakland represents widespread to you sir, responding to your post would be pointless. Also, ideology and speaking well are too different subjects. Unless of course, you assume that anyone who doesn't share your ideology doesn't speak well.

I hope your floor is clean.

From the book........ (Below threshold)

From the book.....

It is a shame that as social currency, fatherhood has been so drastically devalued. A man's honor is cheap... Boys must see the pride in their father's smile, feel the firm hand of a father's discipline, and hear the bite of correction in his voice. Boys will not grow into men unless men lead them...Boys do not need male role models and they don't need father figures; they need fathers in the home

...so very true.

I was flipping through the ... (Below threshold)
Donnie King:

I was flipping through the channels and happened upon C-Span's book TV. I had the opportunity to catch most of Joseph Phillips' talk about his book as well as to see him field questions regarding the ideas that his book states and suggests. He came across as very passionate and sincere about his beliefs. I agree completely with belief in a universal morality that is not relative from race to race, culture to culture, or socioeconomic back ground to socioeconomic background. However, I really think that what Phillips spews and what the book is about is his individual quest in search of authenticity as a man, and particularly as an African American man. Furthermore, to say that his book is true for the entirety of the black experience is just "poppycock."

Admittedly, I have NOT read the book yet--I plan to. I am very excited to read it--just to see what his experience as a black man has been and how it differs from my own. If my opinion changes, I will certainly write-up another posting that elucidates my more informed opinion.

Upon doing a little research, I was a little offended to learn that Phillips used a very stereotypical African American girl's name to advance his major point--I think that that was contrived and possibly telling of an issue that he may need to deal with--black self-hatred. This idea is not new and many books have been written about it. In addition, I think that another of Phillips ideas, the idea that athletic ability is lauded more than intellectual ability in African American households is a blanketed statement that would vary from family to family in ANY household. Furthermore, I would say that parents UNIVERSALLY want their children to succeed in whatever they do--wherever their interests and strengths lie. And so to suggest that if "Laqueesha" were excelling in academics, her mother "Rashonda" would chide her to concentrate more on basketball instead is unfounded.

 To close, I would just like to leave the following thoughts (personal opinions not necessarily related to Phillips or his book):

 Slavery is a tragic event that occurred in our very recent past--change takes place over time--we need more time.

 Slavery was a psychological mind raping whose negative effects have manifest themselves in so many ways that it is just a conundrum.

 I don't agree with reparations, but because one of the major components of slavery was the prevention of literacy and learnedness, I think that it would behoove the government to include some education/tuition "breaks" for African Americans who want to go to college (something akin to what the Native Americans receive) making higher education more accessible will only help society as a whole.






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