Denise Chavez has given us permission to publish her talk at the recent TYCA-SW 2012. If you wish to cite from her work, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey! Like. Whatever. No Problem:
A Look at the How, Why and What of Contemporary Speak
©, 2012 Denise Chávez
When you speak openly and honestly, you won’t have to make assumptions. The day you stop making assumptions, you will communicate cleanly and clearly, and achieve impeccability with your word. Don Miguel Ruiz—The Four Agreements
It is my great honor to be here with you today. I want to thank the two Super Comadres—Erin O’Neill and Kathy Deil Roark, who have worked so hard and so wonderfully to bring you this stellar conference. My thanks and love to you both and your committees and to all here, you who have come far and from nearby to align ourselves to the Spoken Word.
You are my favorite people: educators, wordsmiths, artists of the intention, motivators and the motivated, movers, shakers, listeners, speakers who teach the way of honesty and truth. It is to you I give my greatest respect.
At this powerful time of Hyperspeak, it is hard to know what truth is, who speaks truth and who believes they speak truth. The elections are close and the American people are at critical juncture. Our planet needs truth and respect, honesty, consciousness and transformation. We are in the middle of 2012, a time of healing for our world—the 26,000 Mayan Calendar aligning us to our higher selves.
How can we as teachers of rhetoric teach our students to speak truth? That is our ultimate challenge and our greatest gift: to teach our students to be fearless in their living with intention and grace .
I’d like to explore America Speak for a few minutes and to reflect on our usage of terms, the world’s rhetoric, our national rhetoric and the rhetoric of our time and place, our people as it were. Who are you? Where do you come from? ¿Quién te pario” as my Grandmother Lupe used to say, Who gave you birth?
Growing up in Las Cruces, New Mexico is was important to know who your clan was. Los Chávez, cuales? The ones from Las Cruces or Doña Ana? Who your Daddy? Who your Mamá? De donde vineron? Where they come from and where they live?
In that world, todo era propio. All was proper. If you crossed in front of someone, you excused yourself. Perdón, desculpame. Excuse Me. And the person would respond, “Es Propio.” It’s proper that you should go that way or do that or be there. It is the way of the world and it is accepted, right, just, proper.
People said Good Morning and greeted you when you entered a store or restaurant. People also wished you a good day or good afternoon and you knew when to say Buenos dias and buenas tardes and if you got a Buenos dias out after high noon, there was always someone there to correct you. Era propio.
We have as a society lost the concept of “es propio.” Look at our contemporary language.
Instead of saying hello we say Hey! I know one department head at NMSU whose perennial greeting is “Hey!”
Where did the concept of whatever come into usage? It could have been the Jerry Springer show. Is it still on? Estranged couples revealed on national television they were unfaithful, not of the sex their partner thought they were and not only that, they didn’t care what anyone thought. Whatever.
A woman in love with an orange highway cone? Whatever.
A man really a woman in love with his sister really his brother. Whatever.
Whatever—when did this concept of mass dismissal, of don’t bother me— began? Or has it always been around.
No problem. Now that is the other side of the coin. The concept of “no problem” is one of the things I truly dislike. Instead of saying thank you, or as a Kardashian would say, Thankkew, we say “No problem.” Do you have a problem with no problem. I certainly do. If I am not a problem to you, if I present an easy solution to the problem, whatever the situation or problem might be, then that’s a good thing, isn’t it? But why remind me I could have been a problem. And whose problem is that? Yours or mine? And if it’s my problem then I really am a problem. And if it’s a problem for you, well, then the problem is Me. That’s what you think. The real problem is YOU. Whatever!
Whatever happened to saying please, thank you, I’m sorry.
When was the last time someone said they were sorry to you? Not the man who ram-rodded his shopping cart in front of you thinking you wouldn’t care or find it a problem. What about the woman who sped in front of you in the parking lot in a car hell bent for leather—just what does that mean—and caused a problem or a near problem. Whose problem is that?
We have lost our sense of proper language and proper space. I recommend that everyone should take an Acting or Theatre class to learn that Space is A Solid. Yes, this is a profound concept. Space has space and space is to be respected. What about that Concentration Box exercise? What about the Mirror Exercise? What about just learning to move in space with a sense of flow and rhythm and letting others do the same? My space? Your space? Whatever.
No one in service industries or elsewhere greets anymore. I don’t care if I’ve come to order the Double Whooper Green Chile Cheese Burger Combo with Tater Tots and an Ocean Breeze, can’t you at least say hello?
De nada in the Spanish language doesn’t mean—it’s nothing. Because you and I are more than nothing. We are something. And we matter. The phrase De Nada means so much more than it’s nothing. It means I am happy to be here for you in a way that makes us both happy. And not only that, I respect and appreciate you and our interaction and intention. You are welcome. When was the last time you heard that phrase. You are welcome.
Asi es. Es propio. It is suitable. Appropriate. Correct. Truthful. Respected and respectful. Es propio de Dios padre ser. Proper in the Eyes of God.
Many of these concepts I am speaking of are inherent to the Ideal of service. And that is something many people have lost or are losing. What does it mean to serve and to be served? Are we here to serve or to be served?
As the Rabbi Hillel, the great Jewish philospher stated: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
We are a narcisstic passive/aggressive society. And our leaders are not our leaders but pawns in a game of chess we can barely see or understand. We see this passivity and aggression acted out daily—read the newspapers. Watch the news. Who are we hurting, killing and why do we stand by, afraid or too lazy to take action. Whatever.
During the recent Olympics I was astounded by the mostly U.S. only slant. What happened to watching other countries compete and learning about their way of life and other people’s life stories. If we have announcers how can’t announce or pronounce—Bob Costas—how can we have respect for people and the naming of the names? Come on, Sole-dad! It is not Wuuuuarez—it’s Juárez, accent on the á. Chávez accent on the á. Not Shavez or Chavis or Chavey. Can we learn to live in the places we live with respect to the culture of our place. Shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s hard to talk Computer-ese or maybe it’s too easy.
You may have your own additons: what would those be?
Language can bind, uphold and limit. I’d like to talk about how many of our Mexican-American, Mexican born and multicultural children use the word: Miss. Hello Miss. Yes Miss.
I am more than Miss. I have a name. Call me Mrs. Chávez or Denise. But I am more than Miss. Don’t say it that way that generic way that says I have put you in a box, I have labeled you as Other. And yet, what can we expect when we have put these children in a box, labeled them the Other? No wonder they don’t trust us to have a name. We have put them in classes for the retarded—don’t use that word, I mean mentally disabled because I haven’t been sure about what to do with you because you don’t speak English and you’re whatever. You are a problem. So don’t know problem me little girl or little boy. You ARE a problem. If you speak a language other than English in front of me you are probably talking about me or denigrating me or making me feel lesser so I have a problem. A real problem. And that problem is YOU.
You are the problem illegal alien.
You come from another planet. Not my own. Whatever.
Our children need to know they aren’t a problem. Can we teach them fearlessness and love and respect? For each other, for all sentient life, for the Earth? Now that is not a problem. Or is it. For me, it is my life’s work, my challenge, my manda/my mandate—but more, my responsibility, my directive and my spirit path.
Read: The Service Creed from Face of An Angel
Read The Chant.
Hey! Like I want to thank you for Whatever It was No Problem.
Absolutely! Not a Problem.
Hey! Like. Whatever. No Problem Chant
Collateral damage: No problem
Comtrails: No Problem
Fracking: No Problem
Kill List: No Problem
Global Warming: Whatever
Solar Energy: Whatever
Oil Spills: No Problem
Nuclear Leaks: No Problem
War on Poverty: No Problem
1 Million children dead in Iraq: Whatever
Who me?: No Problem
Mother Earth: Whatever
Gun Control: Whatever
Child Abuse: Whatever
Eugenics: No Problem
Preemptive Military Strike: Whatever
Voter Fraud: No Problem
Tax Increases: Whatever
Increased Military Budget: No Problem
Fix the Debt: No Problem
Genetically altered food: No Problem
Human rights violation: Whatever
Global government: No Problem
Illuminati: Say What?
The Bad Guys?: Say Who?
The Good Guys?: Say Who?
War crimes: No problem
Abu Ghraib: Whatever
GMOs: No Problem
Ethnic Cleansing: No Problem
Apartheid: No Problem
Drone Strikes: No Problem
Microchipping: No Problem
War & Terror: No Problem
War on Drugs: Whatever
War on Women: Whatever
Health Insurance for Everyone: Absolutely
Dignity for All: Absolutely
Respect for All: Absolutely
Love for Animals: Absolutely
Love for our Children: Absolutely
Love & Care of our Elders: Absolutely
World Peace: Absolutely
Hey! Like. Whatever. No Problem. Thankkeww.
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Make a Colleague Joyful. Nominate them for an Award by October 7, 2012. See the link, TYCA-SW Awards, for more details.
The Tour of TYCA features highlights from each of the 2011 regional conferences—PowerPoints, videos, handouts, etc. from sessions that were particularly well-received and are broadly applicable. Pick up strategies for teaching online or using Jing as a commenting tool. Learn more implementing the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing. Hear what students have to say about teacher comments. Get some fresh ideas for classroom activities and assignments. Address issues that face two-year college instructors nationwide, such as basic writing and accelerated learning programs, college completion initiatives, or dual credit/concurrent enrollment.
The Tour of TYCA kicks off on National TYCA’s official “birthday”; TYCA turns 15 years old on November 25, 2011, and the first event is a TYCA history lesson. In the two weeks following, the Tour will showcase sessions from one of our seven regions each day. (Schedule of “release” dates.) It will conclude with the voices of TYCA leaders discussing TYCA’s past, present, and future. Throughout the Tour, view session highlights and ask questions of the presenters or engage in discussion with fellow colleagues online. Each featured session will be available on the National TYCA Connected Community and will remain on the site in case you miss a day of the Tour or want to revisit a presentation or supporting materials at a later date.
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