On Being Told I Talk Like a White Girl

This poem was inspired by my experiences with kids of my own race in school. Growing up, I was always teased and called a white girl because I didn’t act black. I explore what that means here. I was also inspired by a poem by Allison Joseph entitled, “On Being Told I Don’t Speak Like a Black Person.” Enjoy 🙂

On Being Told I Talk Like a White Girl

“Why do you talk like that?”
“Like what?”
“Like a white girl.”

A white girl?

So I talk like a white girl, you say.
Tell me, how do white girls talk?
Do they say “like” a lot?
Because if so, I sure am guilty of that . . .

So, like, apparently,
I talk like a white girl
But, like, I don’t even know where you
Could, like, get that from because,
Like, I talk like myself
And I’m not, like, white—

Hmm, I guess I do talk like a white girl.
But does being at a loss for words make me sound white?
“Like” is more of a filler word—
Like “ummm,” “uhhh,” “kinda,” “sorta”—
Surely black people say that.
Right?
Maybe I sound white because I use scholarly terms . . .

Well, I am quite perturbed to find that your intelligence is so trivial
That you would actually categorize my vernacular
On the basis of race!

Ha! I like sounding sophisticated.
So, is that why I talk like a white girl?
That seems to suggest that in order to talk black,
I have to sound ignorant.
Well, ok . . .

Aye, lemme tell you sumin’ right hurr,
I on’t talk like no dayum white gurr.
You tryna call me outside mah name o sumin’?
Don’t make me take off mah earrings an
Whop yo azz!

Woah, just had an out of body experience there.
Definitely not me.
Ok, I guess we’ve made it clear that I don’t speak Ebonics.
Maybe that’s why I talk like a white girl.

Or is it because I have a really soft voice,
A little country at times.
But I was born with that, no use in changing it.
So if my natural voice is the reason
Why I talk like a white girl,
Shouldn’t I be white?
Well, my complexion is pretty light,
And there’s no denying I have a flat ass.
But . . .
Nope, I’m still black.

So why do I talk like a white girl?
Well, let me answer your question with a question.
Why are you trying to correlate my speech with my race?
Last time I checked, race was not a sound.
I think I speak just like any other intellectual person in this country:

Like I have a brain.
Like when I open my mouth I sound like I actually have some sense.
Like I know how to e-nun-ci-ate my words.

Uh-oh, there I go with the “likes” again.
Let me put it into words that you can better understand.
Why do I talk like a white girl?
How about this for an answer . . .

‘CUZ MAH PARENTS TAUGHT ME HOW DA FUCKIN’ READ!

Was that black enough for you?

 

Nortina

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13 thoughts on “On Being Told I Talk Like a White Girl

  1. I worked with a Black Female. She was a follow manager. She had a degree from the University of Michigan. She spoke the English language with great skill and was very intelligent. She took a customer complain and the customer came to the store. She went to the customer and tried to help her. The white lady told her she wanted the white woman she spoke to on the phone. My friends told the customer. I’m the white lady you spoke to on the phone. The customers turned red in embarrassment and turn around . Walked out. Remember you can’t teach people class. This is a skill taught to children with good parent. A master of the language can steal the mind and heart of a audience. I wished I heard Frederick Douglas speak. His words are permanent part of American history. Sometime we must smile and accept the criticism measuring the weight of the opinion of the person.

    Liked by 1 person

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