Once again, Black culture is being appropriated. What’s new? There was a recent debate on social media about African American Vernacular English (AAVE). For a couple of years, people have been trying to rename AAVE as “Stan Language.” Brittany Tomlinson, AKA “Kombucha girl”, recently shared an uninformed, Tik Tok video on AAVE. She believes that it no longer belongs to anyone now that it is being spread across the internet through memes. This is just another attempt to erase Black people from their own culture.
I’m tired of people stealing the parts of Black culture that they like, while looking down on the parts they don’t like. Our dialect has been viewed as ignorant by non-Black people for decades. Like the rest of our culture, it has never been seen as valid. We have been made fun of for the way that we talk. We are told to use proper English and that we are uneducated for using AAVE. Now that it has been exposed to non-Black people globally through social media, they have decided that they love it. They love it so much that they want to claim it as a general thing, not African American culture.
Everyone is using AAVE without knowing the meaning or pronunciation of the words. Non-Black people think that “Chile” is pronounced as “Chill-ay.” They think Black people were just randomly mentioning the country, Chile in every conversation. Being unaware didn’t stop them from imitating us to look cool. Here’s a tip, if you don’t know what the word means or how it’s pronounced, it’s not for you.
What makes it worse is that people will be anti-Black and use AAVE religiously. I’ve seen non-Black people use it while being anti-Black in the same sentence. I’ve seen Black people outside of the U.S. use our dialect while telling us that we have no culture. African American culture is imitated so much that people have incorporated into their daily lives without realizing it. Our culture is loved, but we are not.
I think that’s why non-Black people and those who are not African American do not want to call AAVE exactly what it is, African American Vernacular English. There are people who believe that we are beneath them. To admit that they are inspired by us would be humbling for them.