Why is speaking proper called "sounding white " ?

In real life , I get this a lot.
I have a soft tone voice and pronounce my words correctly.
I get people my race through saying I sound white or like I am not from New York (because I don't sound like these chick's ).
It's annoying.
Why must speaking proper English be associated with whites? I've heard quite a few speak bad English.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I think it has to do with how your voice sounds more than your vocabulary. For example, nobody says Barack Obama sounds white. My parents are Haitian and i have thought about it and have realized that most black people, no matter what country they are from USUALLY (there are exceptions) have a certain sound to their voice. I think you were raised around white people, your parents were around white people a lot, or had a lotta white friends, am i correct (please respond)?
    But i will restate my thesis that i think it is voice not grammar I really thought about that and came to that conclusion. Not even gonna lie i think that when some black people speak too, bc of their voice not grammar.

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    • PLEASE READ AND RESPOND TO MY QUESTIONS, PLEAAAASE

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    • Aww man, i was wrong on the friends part. Black girls at my high school that "sounded white" usually were around white girls a lot.
      look at how he changed his VOICE, and i know he changed his vocab for SOUTH black (idk why he said negro (he is old so he is probably used to saying that) but he isn't racist) but even southern whites have different vocab. Different parts of the country have different vocab
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e6FTyuMhbU

    • "i think it is voice not grammar " exactly + look at anybody who's non-white that is being interviewed or doing something "professional" and tell me what is the 1st thing that you'd/you'll usually notice about them? Yeah that's right, they usually put on their WHITE VOICE, right? LOL.

Most Helpful Girl

  • Those people who say you sound white must be talking about educated, well spoken, upper class white, because if you sounded like a hillbilly, bible belt freak, you would not sound very good at all.
    But chances are since black women in the US usually sound like the stereotype black woman from the us. You stick out because you don't use the same slang or tone, you don't speak loud and abrasively. etc.

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What Guys Said 44

  • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MoP4o6AFJjg

    I missed the memo on talking "white", I guess, haha. I have a Boston accent, which I think most people associate with being white. However, it's kind of a working class sounding accent, maybe not by hometown standards, haha, but I think the rest of the world thinks it makes you sound uneducated and kind of "street." Like everyone knows about the dropped 'R' sounds at the end of many words, unless it's rolling into the next word if it starts with a vowel (which we actually share with NY, just a little different), and the "hahhhdest" thing in the world for me is to pronounce something with an '-ing' at the end. Like the word "something" will always and "fuh-revah" come off my lips as "somethin'."😂 It kind of sucks in the business world because I think it makes people think I'm stupid or poorly educated, haha. But just as many people are totally fascinated by it, so it works to my advantage as well👍
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r0IQCLQDfKw
    #OhMyFahkinGAWDJay🎣
    #WeAhhSeeinSomeShitWeAintNevahSeenBefoahh

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    • That's just wicked pissah. In engineering people only think your stupid if you don't know what your talking about, so I have don't have that same issue growing up a Bostonian.

    • @JustChilling Well, I actually AM stupid by STEM standards, haha. Bad enough I majored in liberal "ahhhhts", talking like this on top of it is brutal😂

  • Mearly because you dont use slang , or have some sort of ignorant vocabulary that thugs and punks use. Hey down be down over this. I for one appreciate being able to understand a person when i talk to them

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  • All of the many second generation West African people I know (and I know a bunch) both in Florida and Maryland, "speak white". Not only do they "speak white", but they're typically highly-educated (both stepsons have Masters Degrees and one is a Navy Seal, though they were raised by a single-mother who worked two and three jobs at all times)' well-mannered, well-dressed, respectful and absolutely dependable. Of course a certain element of the black American community takes exception to these life choices, but jealousy will always be among us.

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  • You dont state your race and I have never has any reason to ponder that matter. I will assume that you are black but please correct me if I am wrong.

    There is a distinct element of the US black population which wants to maintain a very distinct identity and that attitude is expressed in fashion, lifestyle, and speech patterns. Barbara Billingsley and the jive talkers in Airplane are funny because there is some truth in their caricature.

    Typically, black people who say that other black people "sound white" either want to maintain a separate cultural identity because of pride or it is a reaction to insecurity about not being white. Whatever motivates the comment, it is an attitude that is counterproductive to the idea of having the dialogue that everyone says they want to have.

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  • i've heard this a lot as well growing up. i was young and found it odd and offensive and whenever i told my mom about it she'd be furious

    it essentially stems from what sociologists call "white privilege". essentially the idea is that it's a white privilege that civilized behavior is representative of being white

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  • Don't know but I hear that is quite the common complaint in the black community for any one who does not speak in the colloquiel fashion, also act in that fashion as well. Perhaps its a shaming tactic, jealousy? You'd honestly be better equipped/experienced to answer that question then I would. I personally have always spoken differently then otheres but being the paisty man that I am I don't think it would be particularly reasonable to suggest I am talking the way I am because I am white. Have you asked them about it?

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  • It's because overall, English was used predominately buy whites. If you look and see that it was the language of England (where it gets its name) you can find that it was spread by whites.

    Now, I think proper English is associated with whites because we were born with parents who spoke English. Chinese people or African Americans and any other ethnic group that didn't speak English as kids, will learn it with an accent from their own language. I think it's because of the different ascents that English proper English is seen to be a white thing.

    So again, white people were raised with English ascents, most other races were raised into a different language then English and then learned English with an accent. Proper English is English with no accent, basically, since white people are the most likely to have no accent they speak proper English. Since you summer have an accent, like white people, your speak proper English. And since proper English is how white people sound, you sound like a white person.

    I hope this makes sense and I didn't make the more confusing for you.

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  • I think that when people are called sounding white for speaking proper, they get it confused because I speak proper and have never had anyone say that I sound white. I think it has to do with the way one vocalizes their words not because they speak proper. For example This guy speaks proper, but has never been accused by a person of his own race for "sounding white" , being a sellout, etc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYWsZEZNoO4

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    • Yea that's y I included tone of voice in my description because I have heard people speak properly but they sound their race

  • It's actually a class issue, even though it seems like a race issue. Higher education and money go hand in hand, and of course formal language is a product of education. Money was the exclusive domain of whites for most of American history.

    Poor whites associate that form of speaking with higher classes, but since blacks were entirely lower class until relatively recently, the cultural association aligns with race instead.

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  • I think it's very offensive to assume that speaking proper English is "speaking white." There are lots and lots of people who are non-white who speak excellent English.

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  • I don't know if I have ever heard "talking white", but I have definitely heard "acting white". I don't know, I guess it's one of those things that started out as a result of racism but evolved into this weird, neutral, cultural differences. It's something perpetuated out of tradition and habit rather than by the presence of persisting racism, kinda like how "nigga" is largely no longer maintained as a racist term, and, rather, it is just a thing people say when referring to a person.

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  • I'm guessing proper English is associated with your nation's white roots which were British - who are associated with being posh and white.

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  • I haven't been a part of the black community (I'm white, so that would be kinda tricky lol) so my take is not canon, but here is what I can tell.

    Among the black community, there seems to be a sense of solidarity and wanting to be different from whites that goes back to the days of slavery and civil rights. I think it mostly comes from this idea that if you are acting white, you have sold yourself out to the white establishment and betrayed your community.

    I agree... having lived in the South, there are PLENTY of whites who don't "speak white." lol

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  • I have never heard the term sounding white.

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  • I think you mean, 'speaking properly'. I have never heard that before, besides how many times doni watch baseball games announced by people from the USA and they do not speak properly. They continually wnd sentences

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    • *end sentences improperly and believe it is right. Or they think it's casual or easier. But they sound stupid.

  • Because most people associate a certain dialect among blacks. I've even heard blacks say that "speaking white" is a form of oppression and cultural destruction

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  • been there, done that. sorry i English good and shit :/

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  • I never heard that bit that's stupid considering people of all races speak both proper English and Ebonics.

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  • Speaking "white" is just a dysphemism for polished speech, typically with very little pitch alterations. Other people just have different stylistic expression. For example Creole is much more rhythmic.

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  • whites invented English lol. Actually us north americans all sound wrong, cause we don't speak English like the Brits

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    • Nope. Totally wrong.

      The original form of the English language was MUCH closer to the current American version than to the current British version.
      the-toast.net/.../

      The Queen's English / Received Pronunciation is a bullshit highbrow affectation that has to be meticulously taught to kids starting at an early age.

  • Yeah, my cousin has gotten the same treatment, and it does go on a lot in the black community.

    You probably just sound proper, but there are some well-to-do blacks who do seem like they're trying to sound white as they possibly can be.

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  • Black people tend to have an accent for whatever unknown reason.

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  • Most of the world follows a standard of "white = good", and "good = white "

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  • My dear I know exactly how you feel. I get this ALL THE TIME... however my replies to that usually cut them deeper than a knife lol. I'm a villain at heart sometimes.

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  • Because it is normally white people who are better educated in America/The West.

    I've been called an "Oreo" and an "uppity nigga" before. It's just a case of stereotypes.

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  • Never heard it called that before. Proper grammar is important.

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  • I think that some folks just have a preconceived image of what we should sound like if we look like this and if you sound like that you should look like that and if you are this then you should be that... you know...

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  • Yeah its pretty stupid.

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  • pc asswipes, sjw imbeciles, and feminazis
    that's why...

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What Girls Said 15

  • well to us in the UK if you started talking we'd just think an American with an American accent

    because the ones that tell you that you sound white have never travelled nowhere else outside their part of the city... and to dumb to know that not everyone speaks in the same dialect of English...

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  • Because people are e trembly ignorant. I'm black and speak "white" English and get made fun of for it all the time by other black people... but then they wonder why I can get and keep a job; because people can understand what I'm saying

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  • Because people see that you're black and assume that you're this uneducated, ghetto, poor person that can't string a proper sentence together. It's sickening.

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  • Its a teen thing!

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  • Insecurities of the people making the statements. Regardless of race, one should proudly speak proper English. (Assuming it's your primary language)

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  • If I had 5 bucks for every time I've been told that I talk/act "white" I could buy a fucking car. I legit pisses me off.

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  • Ik! I'm black and I live in south so people talk really country and just kinda skim over their words and so do I in some ways but people always tell me I talk "proper country" (Which would probably just be country to someone from somewhere else). But yea I hate when people say that. Like "you talk so white". So annoying. Sorry I can't really answer your question but I definitely understand.

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  • I get this too. It's because black people have this slang called ebonics and it is believed that proper English is called "talking white".

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    • Do u get annoyed when people say that to u?

      A while ago someone told me I should feel complimented. Now I can't help but feel annoyed. I've never thought so much about the sound of my voice , it's been pointed out to me by mostly black people and a few whites.

    • It does a little, especially by other black girls. I just keep quiet though because I hate confrontations.

  • That sounds so annoying, I'm sorry 😩

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  • They associate varied accents with certain races

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  • propaganda. in reality tons of white people speak horribly.

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  • I sound like mr rogers when I say "nigga pls" apparently

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  • I think you meant:
    Why is speaking properly called "sounding white"?
    Not proper.

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  • It's sad how people still use that term

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  • I've never heard it referred to as "sounding white". Usually its just called speaking proper English...

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    • Hmm, I've heard this a lot in reference to myself.
      By any chance are u white and live in a predominantly white area? Then I would see why u have never heard that. It's a proper phrasing unfortunately

    • *popular phrasing

    • Yes im white but i live in south FL, a very mixed area.

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