Tag Archive: Southern American English

Feb 13

Writing “White”

WHAT’S PLAYING: Aloe BlaccI Need a Dollar

I spoke to one of my cousins a couple of days ago, and she mentioned that she found my blog on Google and read a couple of posts.

“Oh yeah?” I said, trying to sound casual. “What did you think?”

She was quiet for a long moment and then, “You sound White.”

Now, this is kind of a sore spot for me because I grew up hearing the same thing from Black relatives. To be fair, my cousin isn’t the only one who has made this observation. No fewer than three people have said the exact same thing to me in the past two weeks, and my response is always the same.

“What the hell does ‘White’ sound like?”

Their response is always the same: a shrug and a sheepish grin. “I don’t know. You just don’t sound Black.”

That’s helpful.

I learned to speak English in school. I don’t use slang very often, not even in casual conversation. I don’t have a Southern accent, and the only inflection to be found in my voice is sarcasm. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what “Black” sounds like.

 

I speak six languages, people. Ebonics is not one of them, and I don’t intend to learn. I don’t know how to be anything other than what I am: a multicultural woman who loves to write.

If that’s not enough for you, that’s your problem. Not mine.

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