This I Believe

Anthony - California
Entered on November 28, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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There are so many people out there, worried about the way I talk. They correct my grammar and word usage. But I believe that you don’t need correct English to go on through life and be successful. That is why i believe in the word ain’t.

“Ain’t ain’t proper if you don’t use ain’t.” my neighbor once told me. Growing up in Alabama, I was around people who didn’t know a lick of grammar. I remember going to my third grade English class and learning that the word ain’t is not proper. Then outside of school, whether it be at my house, or outside hanging out with my friends, the word ain’t was proper.

Ain’t, which is considered the incorrect form of “is not”, is part of the Southern culture, my culture. Since moving to California with my mom, I have been introduced to all types of new cultures. There is the preppy “valley girls”, the Goths, the emo’s, and don’t forget band geeks. I have yet to meet anyone from the “ain’t” culture in California.

I once told a lady who asked me where the TV’s were at a grocery store that i used to work at, “This ain’t the right store, y’all want to go to Wal-mart across the street.”

Little did i know that everyone in California was an English teacher.

“Don’t you mean that isn’t the right store and you want to go to Wal-mart?” She asked me. Needless to say, my culture was not accepted yet.

Pretty soon i started using ain’t more and more until people started accepting it, or at least dealt with it. Proper English isn’t required for me to be successful, except for English essays. I graduated top ten of my class in middle school. I’ve received two Presidential Awards of Excellence and I’ve made honor roll almost every year of my school career. I’ve just recently received a promotion at my job and one of my job requirements is to talk to customers to make sure that everything they watned was perfect, and you better believe I use the word ain’t, often.

I’ve found that my neighbor’s feeling about the word “ain’t” is true throughout America, and even though i may not speak English the politically correct way, people can still understand me. It gives me personality. Personality is what makes a person an individual. And an individual gets recognized not for the way he or she talks, but by the way he or she conducts him or herself and they way one acts in certain situations. Ain’t makes me who I am, it distinguishes me from others. People will remember me as “that guy who’s from the South because he uses the word ain’t and y’all.” and frankly, I like being recognized as that guy because i don’t want to be like everyone else. I don’t want to be apart of just one click. I want to be my own click. I want to hang out with all different types of people and not be apart of their culture, but be different in my own way and be respected for it.

So even though I’ve been taught by professional English teachers, and the English teachers that may not have a degree, but feel as though they have the right to teach me English anyways, I still believe that ain’t is proper for me and my own culture. And even though it’s not the accepted way to say “is not” just remember, “Ain’t ain’t proper if you don’t use ain’t.”