Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breaking One of My Own Stereotypes aka Smartphones Make Everything Better!

Let's get right to the point. What is the stereotype I have? Most black people don't care about exact grammar, spelling, and syntax. I don't want to get into whether that stereotype is deserved or not. I hold that stereotype because of my own life experience.

From where did I develop that stereotype? I was the smart kid growing up. Something that was always a source of annoyance to me was that people around me constantly said things wrong. Their sentence structures and word usage were deplorable.

Something that was always a source of annoyance to other people was when I would correct them. It took me a while, but I finally turned a (sort of) deaf ear to people's mistakes.

Actually, I just stopped correcting people unless they were my friends. Yes, my friends had to deal with the real me. So now we get to how my stereotype got broken. It's a funny story, so I have to tell the whole thing before we see the stereotype get broken. Sorry in advance for those who just want me to get to the point.

I wrote a post last weekend about my desire to have a social life that was actually active. This led to me going to a Halloween party at a club in Chicago with Bad and Jordan.

We had a great time out with a couple of Bad's other friends. When it was time to leave, we decided to go to the Harold's Chicken Shack near the club and grab food. Jordan didn't go in, just Bad and I, but he was a few steps behind me.

As I'm walking through the parking lot, there is this guy wearing an obnoxious red scarf (that was not a costume) there yelling at me that I'm beautiful, just like this chick named Ashley he knows. As crazy as this sounds, I've heard this before. At least three other times. There is some chick named Ashley running around Chicago with my face. I'm officially convinced.

He follows me into the Harold's and is trying to talk to me and get me to give him my phone number. He's clearly tipsy, possibly high, but still high-functioning. Bad comes into the Harold's and does his usual guy-buffer thing which is usually very effective. But when this guy compliments his Halloween costume, the buffer goes away.

So red scarf guy continues trying to talk to me after I'm done ordering. He's doing the loud whisper thing and of course draws the attention of everyone in the Harold's. I look up a notice at least 10 people watching the two of us very closely. I point this out to him and he begins this speech about how he's not being loud, I am, but how that doesn't matter because he's just trying to get to know me better.

I walk away and go sit by some man who's just trying to enjoy his food. When I sit there, of course red scarf guy comes over. The food guy has this look on his face that says, "why is this my life?" I proceed to talk to him about his food in an effort to ignore red scarf guy.

Red scarf guy starts to get frustrated with me. He tells me he just wants to talk to me, but I'm being difficult. But he pays attention and he knows that he could get through to me because he's observative like that. That's when I looked up in disbelief.

"Observative? I'm pretty sure that's not a word."

"Oh, it's definitely a word. I'm just as smart as you think you are and that's a word."

Then Bad chimes in. "Nah, player, I don't think it's a word. And you've just made a mistake cause CeCe would never talk to a guy who uses a made up word as if it were a real word."

Then red scarf guy got mad. He got all red in the face (black people get red in the face too) and began almost screaming that "it was too a word". His friend comes in and makes him leave because he's making a complete spectacle of himself.

I did have an argument before about hilarity not being a word. Because I was so wrong in that case, I give this guy the benefit of the doubt and look the word up on my Blackberry. While I'm waiting for Google's results, I notice that every other person in the Harold's with a Blackberry or iPhone is looking it up too.

Then a debate starts over the word. It's in and, which means it's been in use in urban areas as a real word for about 10 years or so. says it's some word from the 1610s, and it's no longer proper English. Merriam-Webster and Oxford both say, "f you use this word, we'll drive to your house and revoke your graduate degrees." They didn't say that, but neither of them had the word.

I was about as happy as I'd ever been to see these liquored-up black people discussing the validity of a word while eating fried chicken. Talk about busting (also while confirming) a stereotype. The verdict was that observative is an urban word, but not a real word. If you put it in a thesis, your professor would make you change it.

Bad and I laughed very hard at the red scarf guy's stupidity as we headed back to the car and shared the story with Jordan. I make up words all the time, but at least I know which ones are made up. If you're going to be soooooo sure about something, make sure you're right. Especially when you're trying to impress a girl.

By the way, when I did spell check on this post, Blogger also thinks observative is not a word.

2 New Hypotheses:

You would call a guy out on his completely wrong use of a word?

I'm glad I'm not alone!

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