I received this graphic in my inbox today. I'd seen it before. This time I was saddened that it came from two young family members, so I decided to respond:
Snugly wrapped in the comfort blanket of "objective" proper-non-proper judgement, you might think you've elevated the conversation above race, right? Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth. When we throw these jabs, we're doing European oppressor's work. We are hurting each other while trying to connect, avoid and defend in an oppressive relationship cesspool without preparation our tools, or as my mom would say "You're up the creek without a paddle or canoe."
Stay with me for a minute, will you? I got to set this up.
"Proper English" is really "Gerbonics"- bad German. Any language-code that is used is associated with those who use it. The more we take on the ways of White folks (elite, middle, and/or poor) by language-code, living proximity, styles, jobs, etc. the more the question will be - "are we also taking on their attitudes, views, and behavior toward the oppressed group."
It's a fair question, for historically and presently achieving close proximity to oppressors has often required that we morph from advocates for the oppressed to agents for the oppressor.
While this "morphing" may not be conscious or intended, it's impact is the same. We oppress for the oppressor even more vehemently when we can justify it with some hurt or transgression by the oppressed - like being accused of "acting White."
We speak and can speak many language codes based on our goals and desired relationships with the groups speaking the desired language code. There really is no superior language, language code or way of speaking. We've been taught/socialized by Europeans to make associations of superior or inferior intellect and worth to people who speak or don't speak the bad German language code called English.
This superior/inferior association makes "proper English" imply "proper person," and makes those who question it, and those who don't bow to it, or revere it being thought of as called "idiots" - as in your graphic above. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop at name calling. If Mike Brown or Eric Garner were here, they'd testify to that fact. But maybe you'll let their absence speak to you.
Next time you hear about our workshop called Healing Oppressions' Wounds or Warriors-Healers-Builders, please come. I think you'll love it and you may get better options about how to work through this communicative morass where we're trying to fight, defend, or promote European supremacy without even knowing it.