James Baldwin Essay

James Baldwin “Is language really a key to identity or social acceptance? ” We are judged by what wear, who we associate with and most importantly, how we speak. Someone who is wearing dirty clothing and does not smell the best would automatically labeled as “poor” or “disgusting’. Almost everyone has judged somebody based on appearance or intellect so society makes it seem normal to us, though it is wrong. Defend James Baldwin claim that language is the key to identity and social acceptance because live in a world of judgment and language is necessary to communicate.

In 1 979, the speaker, James Baldwin presented his allegation that language is the key to identity. Today I am living in a world of judgment. Though, am not a “thug”, a “gangster,” if hang out with those types of people, or dress similar to them then that’s WOUld would be labeled as. Take for example Tyranny Martin. He was no gangster, just an average respectable seventeen year old black male who was falsely profiled. From personal experiences, am a victim of judging others based on their language.

People demonstrate this same technique of “profiling” when it comes to language. People who use constant slang, speak incorrectly, and use profanity I look at as “uneducated” or “unprofessional”, defending Baldwin claim that language is the key to identity and social acceptance. It is a shame that in the black community, speaking properly is looked down on. My sister speaks professionally but it is often referred to as “speaking white” What does this mean?

Why when an African American woman is speaking with eloquence and respect she is labeled as speaking white and not speaking with proper grammar. Why can it not be professional? Again it’s judgment based on language. While some may disagree that engage is the key to identity and social acceptance by saying that one can learn to speak grammatically correct, people revert back to their old ways when they become frustrated or upset. Take for example, Chris Brown on his interview with “Good Morning America”.

The pop phenomenon had just completed 12 weeks of anger management, and the interviewer asked Chris about the infamous beating of Iranian. Brown kept his composure and spoke with great grammar and respect, but as soon as those camera’s shut off he went ballistic! He used every swear word in the book, threw chairs and even called the interviewer out of his name. So much for “one can learn”. Another reason why language is the key to identity and social acceptance is because language affects your future.

If two individuals apply for the same position as a news reporter, both with equal qualifications and work ethic but one speaks with eloquence and great grammar, that individual is most likely to get hired over the other. I know for a fact I do not wish to listen to someone who does not speak with appropriate grammar during my five o’clock news, that would be ridiculous! Again, some may disagree and cite people who have succeeded without language such as Mike Tyson (famous exert) or Ill Wayne (rapper) but these people have talents that not everyone has.

They did not need to rely on what they are assaying make it far in life. Everyone can not be a rapper, and everyone can not be a boxer. Therefore in conclusion, as has been explained through feelings, knowledge, and examples, Baldwin ideas about the importance of language as a “key to identity’ and to social acceptance, are true. Language allows us to judge each other based on how we speak and also affects our future. Language to identity is like words to a story, you can not have one without the other.