1-800-Ask A Brother (Part 1)

I’ve been misunderstood and occasionally criticized for some of the words and phrases written on this blog that not everyone understands. I’ve honestly tried to curve that some for phrases and language that can be properly interpreted by most, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes certain phrases and language just conveys the meaning of the message better.

When it comes to matters of racial identity, understanding and even reconciliation

Many people observers say that some politicians  benefit from what’s known as “dog-whistle politics.” The language, mannerisms and symbols resonate deeply with supporters, even as the references largely sail over the heads of some audiences.

Example #1:

When President Obama visited Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington D.C. before his inauguration it was reported that when the cashier asked if he wanted his change back President Obama simply said, “Nah, we straight.”

Now some people may not understand that phrase, because it’s mostly cultural. 1-800-Ask A Brother Translation: To translate what the President was saying to the cashier, “No thank you. Keep the change.”

Example #2:

During the campaign last year many Republicans and supporters of Hillary Clinton made a big fuss over this statement by Michelle Obama, “…I’m now proud of my country.” We heard virtually exclusively White Republicans and White older Democrats jump all over this. Even Cindy McCain jumped into the act. Now I believe many of them understood what she meant, but there are many who simply did not understand what she was saying.

1-800-Ask A Brother Translation: Now I have a reason to believe that Americans of all races are moving beyond the old vices that has held us back when it comes to race.

Example #3:

In 1980 when Ronald Reagan announced his intentions to run for President in Philadelphia, Mississippi he was using symbolic messaging. Ronald Reagan was the Governor of California, why do you come to Mississippi to make your announcement, why not Sacramento? As we experience for 8 years the oppressor may not be an ugly Southern Dixiecrat, but a handsome Western Conservative with a smile on his face. The Welfare Queen was a famous coded language that rallied certain audiences.

I can quote several instances from the hero of some “Sarah Palin” during the last campaign. But why should we concern ourselves with who she’s “Palling around with” now.

Ya see that was an example right there. Do you understand what I’m saying now?

We all understand coded messaging. The best advertising and marketing firms use it, politicians use it and even your ministers use it. I bet your own Mother used it. I’m sure she can say something to you and you clearly understand what she means.

Many of you never heard my voice, but you understand me when you read “What the Hell”. You know exactly what I’m saying and how I’m saying it. But if I said, “Let me holla atcha foa minute”, some may miss what I’m saying.

I’ve laced phrases from Martin Luther King, Pope John Paul II, President Obama, and Ronald Regan together and only a few people catch it.

The manner in which you construct your words or sentence, the sound or voice inflections used in delivery, use of grammar or all of them, is partly conscious because the speaker knows it arouses his/her audiences.


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