Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why are black people so loud when they are in groups of any size?

Q: I work on a college campus and see black students standing around talking loudly/yelling at each other and at people that are walking by them. I have also noticed this in office settings and when it is totally inappropriate. Like in a movie theatre.

My question is why are black people so loud when they are in groups of any size? And do they realize that it frightens some people?

A: So you think black people are loud? WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, FOOL!? My people did NOT sing "We Shall Overcome" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to NOT be able to talk at whatever decibel they like... Hell... we need to be able to shout at the top of our lungs anytime we feel just as every human being should be able to.

We can't ALL talk like Samuel L. Jackson? Want us to speak with the calmness of Denzel? You do realize that Ralph Kramden (played by Jackie Gleason) was a loud talker too, right? You might be wondering who Ralph Kramden is. He's the lead character in the old show, The Honeymooners, (and a time when blacks were RARELY seen on TV) who talked loudly and promoted domestic violence when he said, "One of these days, Alice. One of these days... POW! right in the kisser!" These folks were always yelling at each other. Did he learn this way of communication from a black man or did we, the black folks of America, learn it from them?

Come to think of it, white folks do a lot of shouting themselves. Give them some alcohol and it's a natural amplifier of sound and stupidity. It's not unusual to get the random "YEAH, man!" or "Kick ass!" or even "Fuck, yeaaah!" You can be at a bar, a restaurant with a bar, or a bar in someone's house, or a tailgate with a "bar" so that they may get FU-BARed. But see, it's okay for white folks to do that because they're all around a bunch of other people doing the exact same thing they are - and if they aren't getting drunk, then something is OBVIOUSLY wrong with them and they try to coerce them into into drinking by telling them to "relax", have "a little fun" and to "live a little".

But why do groups of young black folks, of any size, talk loudly on a college campus? Simply - because they can. It's the same reason why you can wear New Balance sneakers and North Face jackets while drinking a Chai Latte on a crisp autumn day with friends. Because YOU can! You mentioned that they sometimes yell at each other. With black folks, it's like family anytime you come across another who looks like you - you get excited, have fun and are relaxed with your family... you get loud, laugh loud, and so forth. When they're yelling/talking loudly at people passing by - I guess it depends on the context because I've been yelled at by white men and it didn't frighten me. What it made me think - using my internal dialogue, "What the fuck is wrong with him - does he KNOW who I am? Jesse Jackson told me that I AM SOMEBODY! (oh.. and this link if WORTH checking out) and I will whip his ass if he doesn't watch himself!" I probably learned that set of dialogue from watching ROOTS - you know that's how Massa talked to his property and it's the 21st Century, dammit! It's time to flip the script! But even with that internal dialogue - I remember what happened to Ol' Miss Sophia in The Color Purple when she "sassed a white woman" and uttered these famous words, "Hell naw". Now, I'll admit, a group of white guys with shaved heads wearing all black and having a chain attached to their pants scares the shit out of me. Why in the hell are you wearing a chain and isn't it too damn hot for all that black clothing? That CAN'T be good. Same thing can be said when it comes to groups of folks wearing pointy white hats that don't say "Dunce" on it. How about this for real fear? Let's venture into traveling. I've driven across the United States twice and I have to say, there are states I'm more fearful in than others. There are cities that I have never stopped in because it wasn't a major city - so if I needed to do #2 I held that shit (literally) until I reached what I felt was a safe destination. There have also been times when I would NOT get out of the car because I know I was the EXTRAORDINARY man of color in that town. It's kind of unsettling. I imagine that white folks don't really think anything of it and if they do, they relate the feeling to something similar to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre - but homeboy wasn't wanting to hurt those folks because they were white!

When it comes to office etiquette, there seems to be an unspoken code of conduct. When white folks are in an office and they're talking about someone negatively or discussing "their business" - they tend to whisper. Sometimes it goes like this, "I heard that so and so is (whisper) gay.." or, "Did you know that she (whisper) slept with so and so?" Black folks generally will speak the truth out in the open, get loud and laugh about it. If it's about you, they'll most likely let you know - we get BOLD sometimes. If you want this loud-talking behavior to stop, you need to learn to not be afraid to communicate with black folks and teach them the code of conduct. Don't act like that's just how black folks are, loud and jovial. Most humans can and a lot of times be, loud and jovial - unless they're some goth kid with an iPod listening to EMO music, mulling over the meaning of life and how it's just not fair that they have to take algebra and why their mom likes to wear pastel colored velour track suits to the mall. For the vast majority of students in general they don't have any home training to teach them that code of conduct. Many just don't know how to act because their parents/guardians don't know how to act. It takes a village to raise a child - and just because I said village doesn't mean you had to have lived in a hut in a third world country to know the concept - Hillary Clinton wrote a book on it and made a LOT of money. With that said - each one, reach one unless you're too frightened to approach one. If that's the case, you should just get over it, look at the "Man in the Mirror" and make that change!

I do agree with you about the movies I can't stand when people talk to the screen either. In a theatre predominantly filled with blacks... you get the "shout outs" to the screen. Now, if commentary during the movie is what you like.. then more power to you. Let me direct you to a theater in Washington, D.C. where my Iron Man movie was both great (because I loved the movie) and annoying (I had the black version of "At the Movies with Ebert and Roper") because behind me two folks were giving commentary like, "God Damn that's a fly ass suit!" and "Look at that ride - that's dope! I want one of dem." and "He's about to kick his ass!" Then there was my experience at a Magic Johnson Theatre at "The Boulevard" shopping center. I saw Sex and the City and I remember a woman yelling out, "Don't do it girl!" Now, I ask, do you REALLY think Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha are listening to you?

With all of that said, here is the synopsis - most black people like to talk loud, laugh loud, etc because that's what they've been raised around - loud, jovial, energetic, charismatic families (for the most part). Visit a predominately black church and you'll find that the preacher gets all into the sermon and starts to yell himself! Let me remind you white preachers like to shout too! Jimmy Swaggart? Michael Pfleger? Paula White? This is not something dedicated to folks of a darker skin and hair texture. But I digress... If talking loudly happens at a time that is inappropriate - follow your code of conduct, pull these students to the side, whisper and let them know your expectations. If it's not your office, let someone in that office know - but don't be an ass about it. #1 they're students who WANT to be professionals. They'll understand what's up. #2 you're either part of the problem or part of the solution. If you're outside and you're casually walking by a group of students, gripping your keys/bag/purse tightly - KEEP IT MOVIN'! (that's what I do when I see those goth kids!) If they're talking about you (and I would bet that 9 times out of 10 they're not - unless you're wearing some whack ass outfit), what exactly do you plan to do? Nothing! That's what.

Lastly, I'd like you to also consider that the loud talking might be a result from having music that's playing in our headphones, car, or elsewhere. The music may be so damn loud that we can't even hear ourselves unless we're yelling . I suspect some white folks might have that problem, too - caused by a good Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, gangsta rap, "pour some sugar on me and make love in an elevator while I visit Dr. Feelgood, screaming along the way, "fuck the police" to the cop cars I see on the way to the clinic" track. To you I say, "Fuck yeah, man - Rock out with your c*ck out!"

* Remember, the view from my lenses may not be the same prescription as yours. :0)


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Anonymous said...

5 years later people are still coming to this page and reading this stuff. I am mostly caucasain mixed with 25% asian. That is irrelevant. I live in a predominantly african-american neighborhood in a, mostly, segregated city. the house to the south of mine is full of loud people who are loud at all times of the day and/or night. the house to the north of me is full of well mannered individuals, although, they seem more racist towards me than the louder folks, to the south. Both of these families are african-american. I, personally, believe in freedom of expression and loudness is tolerable. When things get too loud outside of my house, I just place the stereo speakers facing out of an open window facing the loudness and blast The Carpenters at full volume. The Carpenters music is the exact opposite of what anyone wants to hear at high volume, anywhere. I have the freedom to do this. One thing that I have noticed is that the loud neighbors still embrace me. They understand. i like that. It is a form of communication and a representation of personality. One major aspect that I have noticed is that the quieter neighbors have more wealth and seem more timid. They celebrate quietly. Although, the louder neighbors can sometimes annoy me, i would miss them and the feelings of security that they offer. if someone were breaking into my house and i pounded on their door, they would be there busting heads with me. I found this page because i was wondering if i could understand why the louder neighbors go outside to yell into their phones. What I have found is a better appreciation for those neighbors willingness to be more available. They are loud, I know when they are home and I know when they leave. I keep an eye out for them, and they keep an eye out for me. If someone strange is creeping around, we let each other know. I think that the answer to why some people are louder than others lies withing social class and wealth. people with less money tend to be louder because they, subconciously, feel that their voice is not heard in our society, which is absolutely true. That is a painful realization, whether it is fully recognized or not. I also do believe that that lends to being a cultural thing. I also believe that that does directly stem from slavery and all of the issues that people have had to deal with as a race of people, together. Starting out life in any country as a slave lends to a certain perception being branded on an entire race of people. These people fought for so long to change that. Within that battle, many people have been lost between the cracks and many people likely sacrificed parts of themselves that some of us could never imagine, to see things through for future generations. I don't go out to movies in the theater anymore because everyone is rude. If society falters, it will be nice to have loud people as my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Reason that the description "African American" is not applicable here, is because most of the blacks that are being discussed here were not born in Africa. There are many "African Americans" that are white. And these white "African Americans" don't qualify for "free" money, free college, food, welfare, or any other such programs, paid for by the rest of us who don't sit our asses waiting for that monthly check. Feel free to try to LOGICALLY refute this, but please do so with facts.

Anonymous said...

The fat guy from the honeymooners was an ACTOR that spoke load because he played a lazy, uneducated, ignorant, white trash type character.

Usually load people are poor and uneducated, same as most black they talk load and are rude.

Nobody taught them any better.

Anonymous said...

You accidentally made the point: Many black people are LOUD! Many black people resort to whooping and mm-mmming sounds instead of words because they really don't have any thoughts to express. When decipherable words are employed, the topic is usually about ridiculing someone, or fighting. These conversations are peppered generously with grunts, and words like "POW," "BAM, "BOOM," relentless cussing, and the ever-popular N-word. The only emotions permitted to propel the discussion are: Anger. Contempt. Boastfulness. Cruelty. Oh yeah, and: Anger. And contempt.
You really can't compare this to any other ethnic group's behavior, because these are the standout champions of trash-talking. If these demonstrable facts make you angry -- Oh,no! Who knows what contemptible trash-talk you're about to respond with?

Anonymous said...

F.U. TL:dr Fail.

Anonymous said...

Loud, obnoxious convos by blacks in publicly shared spaces are legion, so there's no intelligence in stating that "not all" people demonstrate this kind of rudeness. Here's the formula for a typical discussion: Instead of using words, express yourself with a rapid, relentless barrage of grunts, hoots, whoops, musical Mm-mmm's, and punctuate this with plenty of "BOOM" "BAM" "POW" and the N-word every other word. It is crucial that the ONLY acceptable topics are rage, contempt, victimhood, violence, jail, and trash-talking braggadocio. Uh, oh, some might read these demonstrable facts and get anger! Will they reply with trash-talk? BOOM!

Anonymous said...

It's not that most black people are loud, it's that most loud people are black. Acting outwardly offensive and aggressive seems be be prized behavior, but mainly when they are in groups. In Jr. College I see constant hall and doorway-blocking. You can hear the majority of nurses' school students already disrespecting their eventual patients (crybaby crackers, no-English speakin' mexicans, click-click Africans, ching-chong chinese, and other whack stereotypes/misnomers). They openly brag about going into health services for easy drug access for fun and profit. How can anyone respect that?

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