When my father reminisces about his dad, my grandfather, he always talks about his language. There were always metaphors, “You kids could ruin a wet dream.” or “A hit dog shole will holla.” and similes. And when the time called for it, a well-timed cuss word. According to my father, my grandfather used to say sh*t just like Senator Clay Davis from “The Wire,” quickly passing his hands in front of each other for dramatic effect.
To my father, even as a child, it was an art form. But apparently one reserved for adults only.
When my father was a boy, imitating my grandfather, he made the mistake of cussing in the house. Not only was he physically punished, my grandfather asked him, in all seriousness, where he learned those words. My dad was appalled at the question but figured it’d be best to keep the truth to himself.
And, from then on out, there was a very clear understanding. Cursing was adult language. Now, of course that didn’t stop my father from using the words outside of his parents’ earshot. But if you cussed in front of your parents, there would be repercussions, painful ones.
But perhaps things have changed a little bit with this modern generation.
In a piece for The Root, writer Aliya S. King talks about the fact that her 18-year-old daughter curses in front of her and she’s not bothered by it at all.
I called Lauren at school last weekend to check on her. She told me she was participating in a conference, and I could hear a bit of discomfort in her voice. I asked her what was wrong, and she whispered, “They put the wrong name on my f–king name tag and they won’t print out another one!”
King argues that her daughter is an adult, has never been disrespectful to her and knows how to behave appropriately in different environments. She says when there are so many things to worry about raising a young adult, cursing in a conversation is just not a big deal.
King’s mother, Rita Moore King does not agree.
As you might assume, she believes children these days have gotten away from the necessary boundaries between parent and child. While she feels that her granddaughter is respectful and kind, she also believes that there should be a clear distinction between parent and child.
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