In The Quick-to-See Smith, Jennifer Stockhousen describes the varying language we use to describe people and events. Sound like your aunt or your grandmother? “That’s not surprising,” Stockhousen explains. “The word ‘condom’ is a word that can be thought of as a Southern term, and as such it conveys so many meanings: knowledge and disease prevention and surgical abortions.” Every time you hear “the stroller,” Stockhousen explains, you’re suddenly putting into words what you assumed was another way of saying a little baby.
Cultural translation becomes a thread throughout her new book, which introduces readers to the 30 words that, when they’re used by people of color, invoke an automatic sense of familiarity in them. As she writes, they have such rich cultural meaning and history. Whether you’re talking about ebonics, frequent visits to pick-up/drop-off centers, or celebrating Halloween, Quick-to-See Smith offers an accessible – and culturally validating – understanding of what we’re up against.