"You Talk Like A White Person": Why Is Articulate Associated With White?
By: Omar Cook
We’ve all heard the phrase “you talk like a white person”, whether it was you saying it or someone said it to you, or you just overheard it. Probably out of our own youthful ignorance we figured this phrase was acceptable to say to each other. I’ve always wondered that since black and white people speak the exact same language in this country, when did there become a distinction between talking black and talking white? Depending on what part of the country you may be from, you may have variations in your slang, I get that, but when did speaking properly and pronouncing your words become associated with white people?
I’m all for speaking comfortably around your friends and family, but when it comes to saying someone speaks white because they are articulate, that’s pretty much a diss to all black people saying that we don’t normally speak our words correctly, and we’ve accepted this as ok. I never actually realized until I got older just how disrespectful this phrase was. There are certain black people that are not comfortable in the way that they speak and their own education that they feel they need to put down the next black person for actually speaking with some sense. Speaking in ebonics seems to be a requirement in the black community or you get outcasted into the “you talk like a white person” category.
The biggest issue with this is that we’re giving white people the benefit of the doubt by saying they naturally speak better than us, which is untrue! The notion that good and proper is associated with white has to go. In reality, there’s black people out here trying to run businesses and build brands for themselves and nobody has time to be sounding ignorant making business deals or networking. Speaking with some sense is not speaking “white”, it’s speaking like you learned something in english class and the millions of dollars that are attached to your name depend on whether you can articulate your business plan correctly. “You talk like a white person” is out.
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