Tuesday, November 25, 2008

white girl-again

i got called "white girl" again. by now i'm used to it. that's just who i am, obviously. i'm a black woman who is always mistaken for someone who think she's white. that's the perception of me and i've accepted that although i don't agree with it.

i got called that by someone who has no college education, and she only eats fattening soul food (because of course, eating healthy is for white folks, right?). by the way, i can't stand when black people refuse to make healthy changes in their lives because they're afraid it's too "white".

last night i lay in bed and thought about the fact that my whole life--- my WHOLE LIFE i've been labeled as 'trying to act white' and i 'talk white'. but what i couldn't really figure out is WHY. why do i sound white when i talk? i'm not talking about just speaking proper english. i know plenty of black people that speak proper english but when i hear them, they still sound (stereotypically) "black" to me. but when i talk, i truly sound like a white person. if someone heard me talking on the phone who had never met me, without a doubt they'd think i were white. maybe i just don't have that 'bass' in my voice, as a character in a Will Smith movie once said.

i mean, i could blame it on my (white) city/environment, but then what about the other black people here who don't sound like me? so i'm not sure why i sound the way i do. and i don't even have to try to sound "white". i just do. ironically, i have to make an effort to sound black. how weird is that?

and despite what the people who have called me "white girl" may think, i have never tried to attract white friends because of the way i talk. however, i do think that the way i talk inadvertently attracts white people to me ( more than to other black women) which is likely why i have so many white friends.

the way i talk just feels so normal to me. people think i'm trying to talk this way, which is just not true.

25 comments:

Immoral Matriarch said...

Pffft. People will say what they say. I for one have stopped caring.

Anonymous said...

Preach!

mendegirl said...

So what if you "talk white" and eat soul food and have mostly black friends?

I have been called white girl my whole life by black people and white people from all walks of life. It's really kinda comical to me.

I know who and what I am. I'm not "better" because of how I speak even if I do benefit from some presumed "middle class privilege".

chatnoir said...

First of all there is not such a thing as "sounding" white.You are not really up in arms or at least your protest is mute.

the individual who accuses the other of souding white and the "innocent" victim who genuinely believe this statement has any dept is also a part of the problem.

First of black women DO have deeper groovy voices then white women, save the few with high pitched voices,or even fewer softly spoken, even in Oprah's proper english there is some blackness .The cream of it actually. You have some Negritude in your own vocals too. Unless you are talking on the phone where subtle sounds can be dodged. no black man will label you as white NO way.

A nicer elocution and or carefully structured phrases only give a clue about your social background if it matches with your overal "allure" or demeanour then people will not look at you sideways. If you clean up your language for a special occasion or because you intent to use it as a mean of distancing yourself from a segment of the population, people will also be able to tell.

of all the people I deal with at work, 8/10 sisters always conceal a "jumpy" accent It is not neccessary SMH !.It is too bad the body languages compensates for the softened language.

Frenchman.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Yeah, welcome to the club TBG. I too have come to accept it and quit trying to figure out how I supposedly make myself "sound white". Maybe it's because of my age (nearing 40 and not about to change anything about myself), but I REALLY find it amusing when I post a position and call to do phone interviews. Those who come in for the interview are shocked (no, they do not say it...but oh the look on their face!!! ROFLOL!) when they see me. I actually had a black woman who interviewed tell me she thought I was white and was so shocked that I wasn't. Really! In 2008 people actually look uncomfortable or are surprised when they see that I am a black woman. Freaking hilarious. I could entertain you all for hours with stories like that.

Anonymous said...

there is definitely such a thing as acting white and anyone that disagrees is just plain full of it.there is absolutely nothing wrong with speaking proper English.i am an educated black man, i speak well and no one accuses me of trying to be white.there are many well spoken blacks who don't need to try and hide there "blackness".Barack Obama is one of them Oprah Winfrey,Eric Dyson they're educated and proud of their heritage.

E.g of white girl talk "like oh my God i like totally want to hang out with you"

That is actually not proper English but it's accepted as such because whites do it.next step for you is to write a blog about how there are no blacks that meet your standards so you've been forced to date whites.

Anonymous said...

If they speak proper English then how do they also sound stereotypically "black"?

btw there's nothing attractive in sounding like a bimbo if that's what you mean by no bass in your voice.

Anonymous said...

so according to you anonymous blacks just plain don't speak proper english. White people know NOTHING about black people and it's annoying.

GoldenAh said...

I sounded so "white" over the phone that when my mortgage papers arrived, the race checked was "white." The mortgage broker didn't know my actual race - he never saw me or asked - and I didn't change it.

Maria said...

I can totally relate! This is the first time I can relate to one of your posts and I've been reading through your blog since September. I completely understand, I don't try to sound a certain way either. I've always had this voice! I'm a quiet talker so I don't use much slang at all, black, white or any other kind of slang. Because I want to be understood, since I was little I always just spoke very directly. I'm black, 23 years old, and every time I speak with someone on the phone that I don't know, that person thinks I'm white. Case in point, about a month ago, I was being phone interviewed to participate in a clinical study. The woman was brushing through the first couple of questions, answering the obvious for me. She said, "State of residence: GA, Sex: Female, Race: Caucasian." I had to correct her and she sounded kind of embarrassed! Haha!

Anonymous said...

My God I do not know where to start.

First of all I think you are proud to be called "white girl", in your mind it separates you from the rest of the "black people". You tend to perceive anything "black" as negative. Incidentally, most people of lower economic backgrounds have poor diets, it crosses all ethnic lines. It cost quite a bit more to eat a healthy diet, it is not a case of a healthy diet being the province of white people.

I have been told my entire life I speak as a white person. Actually I am told that I speak better than most people as I use the Queen's English and not American slang ( I am not originally from the United States). I have found intonation varies among black people, as much as it varies amongst any other ethnic group.

I find sounding "black" is not something I would be indignant about. I do not consider "black speech" to be indicative of a lower economic status or a lack of education.

I also believe that you "attract" white friends simply because you are more accepting of them. In a previous post you wrote of a woman whose child swam at the same pool as your sons. She was black and you made no amiable overtures towards her. In fact you viewed her with quite a bit of suspicion. I am black and my friends run the gamut of colors and backgrounds. I found that I attract varied people because I enjoy them for whom and what they are, and I live in an area that has less diversity than Portland. In fact blacks in my area are less than one percent.

I'm sure there are many blacks in Portland that sound "white" you are not likely to have met them as you would necessarily cultivate them as colleagues.

Dubbayoo said...

I'm right there with you, sista. I'm a military brat and I don't sound black at all. I grew up in the south once we stopped traveling the world. The truth is I've caught way more sh*t from other blacks that think I'm not black ENOUGH than I ever caught from whites about being black. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I finally became comfortable in my own skin. From then on I took on the attitude that "this is me. If you don't like it that's your problem and I'm not gonna let you make it mine too."

I talk the way I was raised to talk. I eat healthy because I'm a lifelong athlete. I don't play basketball because I suck at it. I date mostly white women because 70% of the women I meet are white. (I love black women just fine, thank you) I like top 40/alternative music because I JUST DO!

Anonymous said...

Why in the world do you still care? I haven't been offended by being called a white girl since like the 4th grade. Get over it already

A.Smith said...

You know what I don't like? When people respond to rants like yours with "there's no such thing as talking white"

I don't dislike it because I don't agree with it, I dislike it because I always feel like that perseon doesn't get what's really driving that comment. No, there's no such thing as "talking/acting white" but people still use that phrase and OTHER people still understand exactly what they mean. That's not good.

And, I feel your pain. I think if you spoke to me on the phone and had never seen me, you'd never think I was black. I hear other black people talk and they speak very well, but there's still something in their voices that betrays their race and I don't have it.

Perhaps it's a socialization thing that I missed because I was around mostly white folks growing up... I don't know...

Anonymous said...

You are perceived as "talking white" to some because you use proper English and you probably pronounce words a certain way. We learn to speak through immitation. So, if you grew up in a White area and went to White schools, the way you generally pronounce words will mimic those you were around most--your schoolmates. This is different from saying things such as "like oh my god that is so awesome" which is more appropriately called acting white. But again, if that is who you grew up around mostly, that's what you'd say. Nothing really bad about that. But understand, most people that want to berate you for "acting White" due to your speech are actually just jealous and insecure. They see that you have learned to speak the language properly and thereby gain certain benefits...benefits that they can't gain. So they want you to feel badly. They want to pull you back down with them. Like "crabs in a pot."

Trula said...

Why do you care so much? it seems like a huge part of your identity is being this 'white-black type girl'...surely there is more to you than that.

anywhoo anytime someone says this to you simply say it's how you talk, and keep it moving.

WithOxygen said...

TBG
Time is running out!!! you should not give a crap what people think! I dont want you to look up and one day realize that your life is almost over!! people that are concerned with how you speak and what culture you Identify yourself with are people who should not be in your life. I speak very well, and I donot care what people think.

jazzy said...

Seriously...why can't you just stop caring? This is not the kind of thing that should be keeping you up at night...the way you talk? Come on. You talk the way you do because you just do. You're still black, and you're not better than another black person who speaks more, uh, "black".

This kind of reminds me of childhood and kids picking on others for the way they speak...but you're a woman now and you should know that people are people and who really cares about them. Just live your life...please!

Anonymous said...

wow... we're more alike than i thought. except i think i live in the white capital of the world, home of massive stereotypes. i'm not racist, but it's mostly white people that hold those statistics against blacks in my school and make it harder for black kids to be more of themselves. hm.

anyways, i'm in love with this whole blog. :)

Anonymous said...

"That is actually not proper English but it's accepted as such because whites do it.next step for you is to write a blog about how there are no blacks that meet your standards so you've been forced to date whites."

Wow, you jumped all over her for defending herself against an accusation made by another person. Yes, sir, it is very different to be in the shoes of a black woman versus a black man. To start, most black men don't come with a stereotype of being "angry" and unapproachable just because of skin color. You guys can smile, rub elbows, marry a white woman and boom, you are accepted. For a black woman, it is another story. Everyone seems to either expect a Sapphire rap goddess or some head rolling bobble headed doll. So yes, if one is a black woman and has a certain dialect, it will indeed be an issue not only with other black people but whites as well.

Barbe Beaty, Artisan said...

I'm with ya girlfriend!! :)

KeepYa said...

It's funny what people have written in the comments... like everybody is taking it personally... and all it is - is an opinion. An opinion of all the other 6 billion opinions.

I'm with you... and it's one of those observational topics that I like to discuss and muse too...

I don't get the same thing, but my friend does. Maybe inside she is just a 'white soul' and I have a white friend who feels she has a 'black soul'.

Will said...

TBG, the comments of others only have power if you allow them to. An anonymous previously commented that black men don't come with the preconceived notion of being 'angry'. As a professional Black man for the past 40-odd years, I can definitely tell you nothing can be further from the truth. People's perceptions and judgements of you, especially when they do not know you, you cannot control. You can only shed light on their ignorance and teach them of who you really are. As I tell the simple-minded fools who've told me I sound white or that I am trying to 'talk white'--no baby, I just me. "This above all: to thine own self be true; for then it must follow as the night the day thou canst not be false to any man."

Anonymous said...

TBG, you WILL continue to allow comments by other people bother you because you are hopelessly insecure, and you feed off the negativity by turning it around and making yourself a victim. You're not the only black woman who will be called "white" because of how she sounds or looks so, get over it. The fact that you went on to talk about that person not having a college education, blah, blah, blah, like she doesn't matter as a person speaks volumes about you and your insecurities. Yes, she was wrong for saying that but you seem like you take pleasure in being called "white" because you talk about it OFTEN in your blog. I'm not trying to be mean when I say this but, maybe you should think about seeking therapy. I just think you're dealing with some serious self-hatred, and maybe you don't even realize it. You put other black people down, even went so far as to say we're cursed as a people, yet you talk about how racist other people are...you sound nuts. Sorry but, you do.

Anyway, I'll keep reading because I decided to just take it all in as humorous, it does not good for me to get upset about someone who obviously needs some serious help.

Signed: Nappy as hell, and LOVIN' IT!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

As far as "talking white" this is OREGON, THERE ARE NO ACCENTS HERE! So how does one talk white when we should all have the same speech...I don't get it.

I get called "White girl" whenever I talk about my International travels. Other Blacks either don't believe that I've been to New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Qatar, and Europe or say "That's white people stuff". Silly small minds...EXPAND MY PEOPLE..EXPAND YOUR MINDS!