You’re so ARTICULATE Category: Life
Originally Posted: March 6, 2007

Okay this has been on my mind for a while. A few weeks ago, I had to go through some training at work which included doing a mock sales presentation for some trainers that consult various companies on sales skills.

So after my presentation there was feedback from the trainers about what I had just presented in front of some of my co-workers. I’m expecting to hear a critique like maybe you could work on this or that but the first thing one of them said was “you’re so professional and articulate”. Like she was shocked a young, black woman could be poised and also speak well. They didn’t make any comments to my co-workers relating to how they spoke, let’s just say that are not of the same persuasion.

Personally, I didn’t know if I should take the articulate comment as a compliment or to wonder if there was something behind it. Maybe I’m looking too deep into it but something about the comment just didn’t feel right.

Is it that rare to find someone without an accent who speaks standardized English? I didn’t think so. I grew up in the suburbs, went to good public schools and most of my friends speak the same way that I do. That’s what happens when you have good teachers and parents who won’t allow you to use improper grammar.

Is it just me or does the word “articulate” seem like it’s been changed to have a connotation relating solely to people of color who speak proper English. Has anyone heard that term used to describe someone not of color? I haven’t.

I do a lot of reading and every time there’s an article about Senator Barack Obama (Update: President Barack Obama), he’s always referred to as being articulate. Recently, Senator Biden (Update: Vice President Biden) referred to him by saying “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Umm what the hell? Did he really think that was supposed to be a compliment? Let’s not even talk about Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and all of the other well-spoken black political figures and average black Americans who speak normal English.

I guess using grammar has always been second nature and for someone who doesn’t know me to point it out just didn’t sit well with me. Is it wrong to want to just want to be judged on the content of my delivery instead of how it was delivered?

So what do you think about the word “articulate.” Positive or negative?

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