Jon Durand – Speak White (Excerpt)

72

Jon Durand – BBABID (Business Administration and Design). IE School of Architecture and Design.

Reading:

Speak White (Excerpt) by Michèle Lalonde (1968).

 

Speak white
Be easy in your words
We’re a race that holds grudges
But let’s not criticize anyone
For having a monopoly
On correcting language

In Shakespeare’s soft tongue
With the accent of Longfellow
Speak a pure and atrociously white French
Like in Vietnam, like in the Congo
Speak impeccable German
A yellow star between your teeth
Speak Russian speak call to order speak repression

Speak white
It is a universal language
We were born to understand it
With its teargas words
With its nightstick words

Speak white
Tell us again about Freedom and Democracy
We know that liberty is a black word
Just as poverty is black
And just as blood mixes with dust in the streets of Algiers
And Little Rock

Speak white
From Westminster to Washington take it in turn
Speak white like they do on Wall Street
White like they do in Watts
Be civilized
And understand us when we speak of circumstances
When you ask us politely
How do you do
And we hear you say
We’re doing all right
We’re doing fine
We
Are not alone

We know
That we are not alone

Speak white
soyez à l’aise dans vos mots
nous sommes un peuple rancunier
mais ne reprochons à personne
d’avoir le monopole
de la correction de langage

dans la langue douce de Shakespeare
avec l’accent de Longfellow
parlez un français pur et atrocement blanc
comme au Vietnam au Congo
parlez un allemand impeccable
une étoile jaune entre les dents
parlez russe parlez rappel à l’ordre parlez répression

Speak white
c’est une langue universelle
nous sommes nés pour la comprendre
avec ses mots lacrymogènes
avec ses mots matraques

Speak white
tell us again about Freedom and Democracy
nous savons que liberté est un mot noir
comme la misère est nègre
et comme le sang se mêle à la poussière des rues d’Alger ou de Little Rock

Speak white
de Westminster à Washington relayez-vous
speak white comme à Wall Street
white comme à Watts
be civilized
et comprenez notre parler de circonstance
quand vous nous demandez poliment
how do you do
et nous entendez vous répondre
we’re doing all right
we’re doing fine
We are not alone

nous savons
que nous ne sommes pas seuls.

Category