Are attitudes to b**c**t going to change?

Are attitudes to b**c**t going to change?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I have been reading with interest the many letters and comments appearing in the Jamaica Observer about the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts 2019 valedictorian's use of the b**c**t word in the valedictorian address at the graduation ceremony held recently.

Most regarded it as inappropriate, while one writer, to the best of my knowledge, argued that the offending sentence from the speech, “Big up you b**c**t selves” would have had no impact without the b**c**t.

Could it be that the young man who spoke very eloquently as valedictorian knew this and took the calculated risk of using those words for that very reason. Additionally, is it also possible, judging from the delighted screams and cheers that those words elicited from his fellow graduates that young people today just don't regard those words with the same disdain that older folk do?

I remember 40 years ago when patois was looked down on as “bad talk” or bad English, not to be encouraged. Schoolchildren had to learn to speak “proper English”. Today attitudes to patois have changed, thanks to the work of Louise Bennett-Coverley, “Miss Lou”, who wrote her poetry in patois and used it in dramatic productions onstage and on TV. Patois is now considered part of our culture and used with no apology and is now being considered as worthy of the status of a second language.

Artists are iconoclasts, they break the mould, and who is to tell, but in 40 years time words like b**c**t will be seen just as words, and not as bad words, inappropriate for formal occasions.

Only future generations will decide.

Hope Brooks

Kingston 6

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