The Pine-Sol Lady and the Whens and Wheres of Talking Black

Clutch magazine's Janelle Harris admits that she's at least partly guilty of "pandering to the social convention that dismisses the way black folks speak as sounding uneducated."

Posted:
 
talkblack_575se
Thinkstock Images

Clutch magazine's Janelle Harris admits that she's at least partly guilty of "pandering to the social convention that dismisses the way black folks speak as sounding uneducated."

I don't have anything personal against The Pine-Sol Lady. She's probably a very nice person who has made valuable contributions to society, her community, maybe even her industry during her career as an actress and product spokesperson.

But every time I see one of those commercials, I roll my eyes because for reasons known only to her, she's been OK with years and years of scripting that have made her come off as a modern-day mammy. In order to lend extra credibility to the power of Pine-Sol, she's had to oomph it up with a little baby-honey-sugar catch phrasing. I guess, in the minds of the advertising team over there at Clorox brands, if it's endorsed by someone who looks and sounds like she could be an old-school domestic, then maybe consumers will believe that it really must be that good.

I'm not against the way she talks. Black speak is my first language, too, the tongue I feel most comfortable chatting, even blogging, in. By day, I'm a freelance writer and copyeditor. Though the latter is necessary, it's certainly not the sexy, artistic, Carrie Bradshaw side of the editorial field.

Read Janelle Harris' entire piece at Clutch magazine.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.   

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.
Must-See Family Attractions
July 29 2014 2:13 PM