Becoming Tanikka Part II

This blogging has been theraputic for me. I thank you all for being involved during this time. Thank you for your prayers, emails, and phone calls of love and concern. I want to address a few things that keep coming up:

First of all: I have had an epiphany about my relationship to my education. When I first became immersed in private school it was an all-black Christian school where I attended from First to Third grade. From Third to Seventh Grade I attended public school. When I finally went back to Private School I was in a class where I was only one of two African-Americans. It was culture shock to say the least. Part of me felt that I had to hold on to my blackness "by any means necessary." One way I felt I could do this was by speaking the vernacular as much as possible. I heard many black people including my mother talk with her "white voice" when doing business on the phone and then talk "regular" when on the phone with her girls. I decided that unlike Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem "We Wear the Mask" I would not live the Double-Consciousness that so many African-American's choose to live in daily. (See W.E.B. Dubois On Double Consciousness

I wanted to be a person of Integrity. I wanted to speak the same whether I was speaking to my friends or the President of Vassar College. I maintained that Integrity but I feel it may have been at a price. Instead of embracing the ways that my education has changed me and enhanced my life; I have fought my educational influences, not wanting to laud the privledges over anyone else's head. However, I want to apologize for those who have invested and sacrificed in order for me to have the education I have obtained. I realize through a conversation with a friend I've had for thirteen years that I should embrace the total package of who I am. That includes my High School prepratory education from The Wellington School; my BA in American Culture from Vassar College; and my legal degree from Capital University. There- I said it! I'm educated.

And as a sign that I'm educated I'm going to begin to watch my use of the vernacular. I am going to enunciate when I speak especially to my children and I ask for your help in making this transition. If you talk to me and hear me speaking only in slang (can I still say "What's Up? Shut up! Girl!?") please remind me of this pledge I've made. I am a work in progress and I need to accept all facets of who I am. Speech is very important and I don't need to dumb down my speech to be accepted or fit in with the people I love. Watch out world- epiphanies abound!