why i type in all lowercase15 Sep 2020
i type in all lowercase for two reasons.
the first came from a deep dive into the bible and hebrew scripture. i was fascinated by the reverence given to G-d. there reverence appeared in several ways:
- two ways G-d’s name were written (these are translations obvi) were G-d and YHWH, both words that can’t technically be pronounced because they don’t have vowels
- G-d’s name was always capitalized
back when i was walking barefoot, this stuff fascinated me and my long-lost blog, barefootmanifesto, really took that practice seriously; set G-d apart from all else, even in written reference.
the second came much later from reading black queer feminist writings and just generally being black. i kept noticing some black women writers i know type their names is all lowercase. and i started to wonder why. and then i as i just thought more about aave and how it decenters the proper rules of grammar it sort of dawned on me that grammar policing is policing.
i definitely was known as the grammar police in a bunch of my friend circles growing up and it was never to good end. i would correct people’s verb tenses and dangling participles and for what?
i was told, by one arm of the grammar police (i.e. a certain type of conformist public school teacher) that proper grammar was to help people be understood. but in conversations where i was correcting folks, VERY rarely was someone not being understood. and then it just broke through: grammar policing is a form of social control. even though grammar might be at its core about supporting understanding, as i was taught it, it’s a mechanism of control. people who get enough formal schooling learn the rules, people who don’t are out.
and there are SO. MANY. PEOPLE. who communicate just fine without ever learning all the minute rules of standard american english. and the amount of energy spent (a) teaching people to follow rules that don’t usually help people communicate more clearly and (b) policing people to follow the rules is absurd compared to how much energy is spent teaching people, how to actually listen and actually communicate. but i digress…
so anyways, these two reasons created in me the desire to experiment. what happens if i type in all lowercase as a political statement? as a way to subtly but consistently challenge what i had been taught growing up? as a way to surface notions of dominant culture on the road to decentering division and promoting connection?
is it working? idk. but i’m enjoying it and for now, that feels important. also, rarely has someone told me that they don’t understand me. if that changes, i’ll shift. but until then, not capitalizing letters hasn’t diminished by capacity to communicate and it save a helluva alotta keystrokes lol.
ps - s/o to jordan mudd, who asked the question that lead to this post.
words / writing / post-processing
421w / 15min / 5min