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Am I Not Black Enough?

Updated on November 26, 2014

Ever since the age of sixteen, my Afro-American friends have always told me, "You talk like a white girl!" As a teenager, I didn't see anything wrong with this statement because I didn't understand it. I wasn't aware of how white girls talk because I didn't spend most of my time around white girls.

Hearing that made me feel different, as if I wasn't Black enough. Because people were always saying it, I didn't mind it. I just learned to accept the way I speak. Honestly, I didn't understand the statement, which is why I never got offended. I often thought to myself, "What does it mean to talk like a white girl?"

Fast forward six years, I was sitting in McDonald's with two of my Afro-American friends. I asked them, "What does it mean to talk like a white girl?" They responded, "It just means you speak properly." Upon hearing that, I thought the statement was a compliment. Who doesn't want to speak properly? As a college grad, that's what I should be doing.

Recently, I was on the phone with a friend from high school. He made the comment, "You sound like a white girl, you've been hanging around those white people too long." I didn't respond because I attended a predominantly white university. Therefore, it's possible that I probably do sound like a white girl to someone who hasn't been exposed to that culture. Honestly, I am unaware of how white people speak. I don't pay attention to it.

However, my friend's comment was very ignorant, which is why I didn't respond. Everyone has their own unique way of speaking and it is ignorant to say that a certain group of people speak a certain way. I don't sound like a white or Afro-American woman. I speak like myself.

After analyzing my experiences, I realize being Black doesn't define my whole life. My heart and my actions define who I am. Being Black is something that I can't control and I won't allow anyone to stereotype me.

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    • Shay L profile image
      Author

      Shay Lee 3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the amazing words of wisdom.

    • Maria Antonia profile image

      Antoinette Lee Toscano 3 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Shay, I totally identify with what you are saying. When meeting me in person after talking over the phone, white and black people often say "I thought you were white". It's funny that Asians, Latinos, and other races of people never make comments like that. I too get a lot of criticism from American black people, as opposed to black people from Latin America or the African continent. American blacks often ask me why I "...talk so white". It is so offensive to me because it assumes that if you are a person of color you are expected not to speak well. The worse aspect of it is when it is said by other black people. I am like you in that I do not allow other people, nor my race to define who I am, it is only one small aspect of what makes me uniquely me. Like Stephen said, there are great advantages to being well spoken so don't worry about what other people say or think.

    • Shay L profile image
      Author

      Shay Lee 3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the amazing words of encouragement.

    • Stephen A Brown profile image

      Stephen A Brown 3 years ago

      Rashai, unfortunately many people have the tendency to want to mold you into their own image. The same is true for all cultures. When you do not fit a specific mold all people want to do is criticize you. I have had the same kinds of problems my whole life and a I am a white male. However, mine is because I am an introvert. My advice is to be your own person, and not bend to anybody else's expectations. Speaking properly gives you an advantage in this world. Your education and commitment to your own individuality, while maintaining good rapport, will be the keys to your ultimate success. Good luck.

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