Saturday, March 11, 2006

Multiculturalist Little Me

The Academy's coronation of a rap song as Best Song of the Year drove home to me how tremendously important multiculturalism really is. The last thing I want is for my readers to consider me insensitive to other cultures!

And so, in my continuing effort to expand my horizons, I am learning a new language. Someday I hope to be bilingual. What is my second tongue of choice? I've decided on Ebonics!

A huge help has been The Ebonics Translator at

I'm just learning so much! It's very exciting! Here, for your enlightenment and cultural edification, are three short passages in English, translated then into Ebonics:

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky."

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what ya iz! Up above da world so high, like uh diamond in da sky. An dat boil on mah ass."

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."

"Now iz da tyme fo' all pimp-tight men ta come to da aid o' they country. An don't make me pull mah gat!"

"Hurricanes in Hartford hardly ever happen."

"Hurricanes in Hartford hardly ever happen. An don't make me pull mah gat!"

As you can see, Ebonics differs little from English in many ways. It seems to distinguish itself primarily in its use of (A) foul language and (B) the frequent use of the curious warning, "Don't make me pull mah gat!" (I didn't break my Lenten cussing ban here -- the Ebonics Translator did it for me!)

I'm an old movie fan, and in the gangster films a "gat" was a gun. Assuming the word still means the same thing, as a gun enthusiast, I suppose I should be able to relate to Ebonics well. I'm not too sure, however, why a relatively-benign comment about the weather must be accompanied by a threat.

This whole "sensitivity to other cultures" thing is going to take me some time. If I take to ending my sentences with an admonition not to make me pull my gun, it's highly possible I may end up getting an even better view of another culture: from behind the bars of a jail cell.

I'm still not real clear on why it's so constructive for our children to learn how hard it is being a pimp.

Many people shunned Brokeback Mountain because it didn't stereotype gay men. That has to be the reason, because most of these same people seemed to see nothing wrong with La Cage Aux Folles. I don't like the fact that a large portion of our society gets its views on gays and lesbians from movies about simpering queens and homicidal dykes. Were someone to suggest that Thelma and Louise presented an accurate portrait of women -- even straight ones -- I would also be offended.

How many of those in Black churches who don't like gays get their ideas about us from Hollywood? Probably the same number as that of White rednecks in the deep South who get their ideas about African-Americans from Hollywood. This is a sad, sad, sad, sad world.


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