If you don’t have a clue what the title of this post is, than you’re not alone. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone and realize that you have absolutely no clue what they are talking about? Or, have you browsed blog posts, Facebook status updates or even news articles and you run into an aberration similar to this eyesore:
Ah hEo naH to da wuH! WuZ chiLlaXin wit mah dogz and DiZ FoO tRynaH hoLLah @ me. I wuZ lie WuH?
Really? I’m gonna be straight with you. You may enjoy sounding stupid, but I don’t enjoy watching you be stupid. In what world do you think you’re going to get ahead in life if you sound like a song played backwards only this time the subliminal messages are pointing at your inability to function in society because you can’t speak or write English!
Baby talk is one thing and people have accents. Very thick accents. I grew up around people of all races who spend countless hours learning to master the English language simply because they want to assimilate. Sure, we don’t want to be White, act White and certainly not sound White but when you work in an environment where pronunciation, articulation and your command of the local lexicon is as essential as your appearance and attire.
When I was a kid we called it “fobbing out”. If you were born and raised in the islands and immigrated to a foreign country you were considered ‘fresh off the boat’, or a F.O.B. It was a shameful distinction. A titled bestowed upon the diffident by the arrogant. It was how we, the self-important, treated people who came here to live a dream and build a future.
But, after living among F.O.B.’s for many years I came to understand, believe and cheer for the F.O.B.’s of the world because there’s something about F.O.B.’s that will always ring true: They want to be better by being better than the best. What exactly does that mean? It means getting an education and living a life that makes our palagi counterparts want to be more like us, not the other way around.
It means living the best parts of our culture, being humble, speaking with authority and teaching others our true selves, not the hip-hop counter-culture our youth have adopted and the thug-life, gang mentality that is stealing away our youth and destroying our families.
Yes, it bugs me and it shouldn’t because everyone has to decide for themselves who they want to be and what voice they want the world to hear when they speak. But I come from a home and a history where my forefathers were orators. They were people of deep thought and persuasive articulation. Their diction was precise their arguments evocative.
Bernard of Chartres used a phrase to describe those who seek intellectual excellence by understanding the works created by notable thinkers of the past. The saying goes, “We are but dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Our ancestors, our parents were and are giants. We can only measure up to their achievements by emulating them, assuming their mana while endeavoring to excel and transcend their prior achievements.
Not all of our youth are falling victim to this crazy, fad-driven, cult worshiping world and I admire and respect them. They honor their ancestors by speaking with power, conviction, humility and understanding. And in the end, it is all we ask as parents. ‘Ya-no-wha-um-sayin’?