Each summer my mother sends me to visit my relatives on the West Coast. My mother also has a brother who lives in New York. Therefore, mom sends me to visit my uncle there as well.
This is the problem: My cousins in the West constantly make fun of my southern accent. I hate going there and my mother insists that I ignore their laughter. I try to explain to her that I feel they are no better than me. I may talk southern, but I talk correct. Their English is poor-poor-poor. Even when I visit my uncle in New York, he spends precious time drilling me to talk like New Yorkers.
Gwendolyn, what can I do to stop this madness, or should I even be concerned?—Louise
You can’t stop the madness and yes, you shouldn’t even be concerned. I know your relatives are small minded, ignorant thinking people. I say so because that is how small minded people think. Knowledge is not too much to the forefront with them.
Let me tell you this: I recently had a visitor who commented on the notice that the newscasters did not have a southern accent. I will tell you as I told her, “An accent does not verify one’s personality or character. An individual can sound like an upright person and actually be a serial killer. Think about it. An accent does not validate who you are but only indicates—you came from someplace else.”
(Write to Gwendolyn Baines at: P.O. Box 10066, Raleigh, N.C. 27605-0066 [to receive a reply send a self-addressed stamped envelope] or e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)