I’m working on a literature discussion question and need an explanation to help me study.
dialect and bunber
The use of dialect itself is heart-rending considering white readers at this time were mostly interested in poems written in dialect from black poets. Dunbar does mask off his skills in poetry by publishing dialect when Dunbar knew how to write literary English. The issue of using dialect was that it further added to language stereotypes and stereotypes that a black man is uneducated by using dialect instead of literary English when in reality Dunbar was very well educated but was a dialect poet due to wanting his work accepted by whites. Another issue of the use of dialect is that it closes off of what you are able to write about. It made it harder the write about the pressing issues African American’s were going through in a serious manner. I mostly see some form of dialect mostly in songs today, the shortening of words and certain vocabulary that were created in black communities. I personally don’t see dialect as simple or uneducated but simply a style. Dunbar wasn’t uneducated and his dialect poems were famous and complex to read considering many had messages in them like in “When Melindy Sings”.
Dialect is a language norm but based upon your dialect, many can deem you either superior or inferior judging by how you speak. Street English and Slang stemmed from African American Vernacular English is popularly and widely used in contemporary pop culture and is seen as hip and on-trend. Many of the top songs trending across the country are noticed using this dialect and black vernacular. In the past, there was a deep-rooted stigma if one was heard speaking this way, they would label them as uneducated or a trashy way of speaking. Common words used today can be drawn to A.A.V.E.. The stigma now ceases simply because most of the young population accepts and uses these words and phrases in day-to-day speaking. When non-black backgrounds are heard speaking in such a dialect, they would be viewed by the majority as cool or trendy. In comparison, if black folks speak in their own vernacular, theyre considered uneducated and or/ ghetto, this double standard placed on people of color can be seen throughout history and is very unfortunate towards the black community.
Second discussion post
the black hero Dialect
I feel that maybe the hyperbole in the poems during this time were attractive to a listening or reading audience because it was during a serious and emotional time. Something that isn’t literal and based on true experiences could’ve been an interesting read during the circumstances. I think the use of the larger than life characters were made as character of faith kind of like god or to use as a motivation. Like in John Henry it mentioned that when he was a little fellow he could be held in the palm of your hand and once he grew up he was considered the best steel-driving man. I think that many enslaved African Americans did think that everyone else saw them as that small and maybe they believed that for themselves too but like John Henry even if you start out as tiny as a hand you can still be the very best at what you desire to be. I feel like maybe these poems gave a sense of hope, motivation, and maybe faith to keep fighting and pushing through and to not give up considering how horrible it was living through those times.
The reason that this hyperbole black tall tales attractive to black audiences is because of how they allowed for African Americans to have something to look to. An example of this is through the tale of John Henry. John Henry is an individual that basically works with his manual labor and body. On the other hand, he has to compete against the white man and the white mans technology. The fact that he can overcome the technology that the white man creates is meant to showcase how African Americans are superior to whites when it comes to their physical labor and heart. This can be appealing to black audiences who were always told and raised to believe that whites were better and superior. So the idea and story of a black man defeating the white man and his technology could be a way of helping African Americans feel superior and have a symbol of pride that they can strive to achieve some day.