First of all, congratulations to the Florida State University Seminoles! That was an exciting championship game. It was absolutely amazing, and though I was rooting for my former school, Auburn (I transferred), it was still a great game to watch.
So here’s my problem: the ridiculous spew of hatred toward Jameis Winston’s post-game interview.
I’ll admit he’s not articulate. But do you know what else he was in this moment?
Young (19 or 20) – he’s a redshirt college freshman
Ecstatic – he just won a flippin’ championship
Out of Breath – he sprinted onto and all around the field after Auburn’s final play
I have a BA in English, and I will admit to being a bit “eh” about his speech. But you know what? I didn’t shame him on social media like these folks:
Oh, and to be clear, that last tweet is by the mother of former University of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. It has since been deleted.
You know who else’s interview had me a bit “eh”? Winston’s coach, Jimbo Fisher, the man who spoke right before him. That man is as country as can be, and I didn’t like listening to him talk much either. But once again, I didn’t attack his speech or intelligence.
Do you know how many Facebook or twitter posts I saw about Jimbo Fisher’s post-game speech/English/IQ score?
In fact, I’m a southern girl, and I could tell you that often black and white southern accents sound different. I don’t actually have an accent, but when I venture around the United States, as I’ve been known to do, I am asked “Where are you from? DC?” and upon hearing my answer, Georgia, I often get “Oh, why don’t you have one of those cute accents?”
I’m going to assume by “cute accent” people tend to mean the one Jimbo Fisher has when he speaks.
And I’m going to tell you right now, I find it to come from a racist place to shame the way a black man talks because it doesn’t sound like you, how you think an attractive southern accent should sound, or the way you think someone else should talk. Please consider that racism comes in more forms than robe-wearing KKK members; that is definitely one form, but the shaming of things like hair, speech, and IQ of blacks because it is not what you think it should be, and different from many white people, is most certainly another form.
Linguistics and languages are interesting and quite complicated, and black people, for example, are known to code switch, that is, speak different ways with different groups of people. White people usually do not have to code switch, since we seem to think that the way white people speak is the correct way. I find this interesting, because unlike, say, France, who has people that dictate what is and is not French, America does not have anything of the sort. Which is why we can have words and a language that continues to evolve (linguists can explain the difference between an epic fail and an epic failure).
So let’s do ourselves a favor and stop shaming blackness. You just make yourself look worse than Winston.