Didn’t know/you don’t sound black.

image1Charity Son
Anchorage, AK

I was disappointed that this seems to even surprise a congenitally blind white woman I work with–“I didn’t know you were black!.” Happens on the phone as well. In person, black people, white people, all kinds of people seem to resent the way I speak. What does it even mean, to sound like your skin is a certain color? The way I speak doesn’t make me trying to sound white, or trying to sound smart, or trying to spund rich, and shouldn’t even be associated with those things exclusively. It’s just the way I was raised to talk. It’s not actually connected to anything and yet socially and culturely we’ve made sure that it is. We’ve made sure that depending on the audience, one way of speaking is more beneficial or more limiting than another. Dialects become colored and tinted by association.

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