Media Nothin Is Against the Rules
posted by January 14 at 9:29 AMon
Because we have a moment, and because it only deserves a moment, let’s take a look at a few of the commonsensical things Robert Jamieson has to say (“This ‘hater attitude’ has got to stop”) about a murder that happened not too long ago at a place not far from where he works:
…Allen Joplin, a Seattle public high school student and gridiron standout…was fatally shot at a party a week ago on Elliott Avenue West, near the Olympic Sculpture Park.
Joplin’s attacker, a young man, remains on the run. Seattle police are on the case. People who attended the high school party believe the coldblooded act came after a trifle escalated.
Joplin, just 17, was known to roll with members of a Seattle gang, Deuce Eights, named for the area around 28th Avenue South near Leschi they claim as turf.
Last week, 28th Avenue South at South Jackson Street became a sidewalk memorial with stuffed animals, photos, candles and a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Black bandannas were wrapped around a street pole for the teen, buried Friday after an abbreviated life.
If this sounds like a sad, broken record, it is: a black victim; a black suspect; young men wiping out young men in a violent cycle that doesn’t stir City Hall to sound the alarm.
So I’ll turn up the volume on two sharp voices — from starkly different places — calling for an end to the madness.
“Senseless crime,” Tramaine Isabell, a Seattle man in his 30s with Deuce Eight ties said in a message he posted on MySpace.
Isabell, who loved Joplin like a son, made perfect points with imperfect grammar.
“I understand protectin yur self but murderin sumbody 4 nothin is against the rules,” he wrote after the slaying.
Isabell urged peace: “All this South end, (Central District), West Seattle, Tacoma or where ever yu from (the) beef needs ta stop. Now Im not an angel and I will practice what I speak … and put an end to this hater attitude we have toward 1 another. Grown men need ta start leadin by example.”
Robert, it wasn’t necessary to warn your white readers; Isabell’s writing is perfectly readable and grammatical. The relationship between its deep structure and surface expression is very close. Just because the surface expression wasn’t composed with the strict set of rules that you’ve been told (and retold) are the right set of rules (my use of the word “right” in this context preserves its older meaning of power, domination, law, king), doesn’t mean it is ungrammatical. In fact, Isabell’s English is more alive, electric, fertile than the dead standard (the way I use the word “standard” in this post preserves its older military sense) you worship, and whose power/authority you reinforce by designating what is broken/black and what is right/white. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.