“Articulate” blacks

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  • #11048

    Marcus S.
    Member

    During a conversation with my former boss (he is white), he told me I was ‘very articulate for a black man.’ I’ve heard this at least three times since then. Is it assumed among whites that blacks are ignorant?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Marcus S., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/Native American/Irish, Religion : Christian, Age : 22, City : Sacramento, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Office Assistant, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #15834

    Doug25651
    Participant

    No, whites don’t assume that blacks are ignorant. At least, I don’t. I do, however, recognize that the stereotype of the ignorant, lazy black man has been with us since the days of slavery. The media has participated in its perpetuation by enlisting the aid of black people to portray butlers and maids, menial laborers, prison convicts, drug dealers, junkies, whores, etc. Generally, I believe the ‘articulate’ comment was directed at your method of speaking. Blacks have a lingo all to themselves (to the point the Oakland Public School System wanted to teach their predominantly black student population using the language: Ebonics). The trouble is, those speaking the black lingo give off the appearance of not knowing (or caring) how the English words are pronounced: ‘axe’ instead of ‘ask,’ for example. This deliberate mispronunciation may have its roots in black pride, but also gives the impression of ignorance of the English language. However, the reverse is also true: Britains watching Jerry Springer have the definite opinion that the average white American is toothless, sleeps with their daughter’s son’s girlfriend, lives in a trailer and speaks with a distinct Southern twang.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Doug25651, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : New Age/Metaphysical, Age : 40, City : Phoenix, State : AZ Country : United States, Occupation : Administrator, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #16417

    H.J.
    Member

    Many white people are not exposed to a wide variety of black people. Often, the majority of blacks we see are on television, where many black people don’t seem to speak well, whether they have accents, are uneducated, or just mumble. Essentially, it’s a numbers game – if your only exposure/experience with white people was those who did not speak well, you would probably be surprised when you met one who did. Personally, I’m surprised anymore to meet anyone who is halfway articulate.

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    Name : H.J., City : Los Angeles, State : CA Country : United States, 
    #19676

    Mewelau-Hall20619
    Participant

    I have been told that fact several times. It’s not because I am trying to do so but, it is because of the way I was raised, and i absolutely don’t feel bad about that fact.Also, around the world, you would be surprised how many white people do not speak properly and how many black people that do.

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    Name : Mewelau-Hall20619, City : Miami, State : FL Country : United States, 
    #37580

    ED25479
    Participant

    Unfortunately, many whites do think black people are inarticulate, and believe they’re paying you a compliment by informing you that you’re ‘well-spoken’ (or however they phrase it). Not long ago I had a white customer where I work who couldn’t wait to tell me she had once met Condoleezza Rice, and had told her how well she spoke. I bet Condie felt like slapping her – I know I wanted to.

    User Detail :  

    Name : ED25479, Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, Age : 46, City : Kansas City, State : MO Country : United States, 
    #41304

    Denisia25845
    Participant

    In the United States black people ‘seem’ to have a distinctive speech that you can easily point out without seeing the person. So when you don’t sound that way, you are automatically thought of as “articulate” because you sound “white.”

    User Detail :  

    Name : Denisia25845, Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, City : Fairfax, State : VA Country : United States, 
    #47225

    Seymour
    Member

    Yes

    User Detail :  

    Name : Seymour, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Age : 21, City : Chicago, State : IL Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #22833

    Skye
    Participant

    i get so tired of ppl saying ppl talk ‘blk’ or ‘whte’. what is the definition of speaking white n e way?? really proper sounding?? well, what about southern whites?? are they expected to sound proper too?? i don’t think so. i am an afro american, born and bred in the country, and i do not sound one bit ghetto…i also don’t sound proper. i’m pretty country-sounding, as are most of the other afro amers around here. so i think ur speech depends on ur location.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Skye, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Baptist, Age : 17, City : Greensboro, State : NC Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #28546

    Ron R.
    Member

    My first wife is Native American and she went to high school at a government-run Indian school in California. She won a creative writing contest one year. Her white teacher read her story to the class and said, ‘I showed this to my son, and he couldn’t believe that an Indian could write something like this. I’m very proud of you.’ At first she was beaming with pride and then it was, ‘Wait, what’s wrong with this picture?’ Sadly, this guy really meant to compliment her.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Ron R., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Age : 53, City : Los Lunas, State : NM Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #35514

    John
    Member

    What if someone complimented your speaking without mentioning your race or dialect? I personally think Condoleezza Rice is a good speaker, period.

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    Name : John, Gender : M, City : New York, State : NY Country : United States, 
    #26926

    Seamus28267
    Participant

    I’m one of those people who still notice when I meet a Black person who is well-spoken, articulate, and informed on issues outside of sports, music, and gossip. The reason I am is because they are relatively rare, especially among American-born Blacks. The person who said this is giving you a compliment. A backwards, insulting, and wrongheaded compliment, but a compliment nonetheless. Much like the numerous Blacks who have told me I’m ‘cool’, ‘tough’, ‘funny’, etc. for a White ‘boy’ (I’m in my 20s). They mean half-well, but still wish to seperate themselves like your boss.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Seamus28267, Gender : M, Age : 23, City : Charlestown, State : MA Country : United States, Occupation : Construction, Social class : Lower class, 
    #40026

    Lisa-C
    Participant

    People adapt to their environment, have you heard how a person of African descent in England speaks, like the English. Its not that complicated, back when the settlers first came to america they would send the degenerates to the south, Georgia was the only southen state that was a colony, the degenerates are the one whom butchered the english language, since most blacks roots are from the south, that is where the problems orginated. Haven’t you noticed how southern whites speak, the same as most African-Americans.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Lisa-C, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Baptist, Age : 38, City : Lansing, State : IL Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #30965

    ED25507
    Participant

    That would be okay if you had just made an eloquent speech or something. However, to just come out and say ‘oh, you speak so well’ is a phrase that many articulate black folks recognize for what it is…a back-handed compliment that really means ‘I’m surprised you can speak standard English, because most of your people can’t…therefore, I grant my approval.’ It’s the exact same manifestation of white naivete as telling an ethnic Asian who was born and raised in the United States and has no accent that he or she ‘speaks English so well’. By the way, I think Ms. Rice is a good speaker too, as you would expect from someone in her position. I’d be willing to bet, however, that far fewer people came up to her predecessor out of nowhere and told him he was ‘well-spoken’.

    User Detail :  

    Name : ED25507, Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, Age : 47, City : Kansas City, State : MO Country : United Kingdom, 
    #42054

    Paul-S30459
    Participant

    Your boss told you that you were articulate for a Black man? Were those his exact words? I can’t believe that he’d have the audacity to make such a racially pejorative comment in the work-place. It was nothing less than an off hand racially motivated insult. Had this happened in my office, I’d have taken it up with human resources and my lawyer.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Paul-S30459, City : Southfield, State : MI Country : United States, 
    #30380

    J-Fleming21264
    Participant

    I think your boss is exceptionally ignorant on this. Whites in general are well aware of the condesencion inherant in that sort of remark. I’d suggest he was being not-so-indirect with you. That said, characters like Martin Lawrence who presume to define blackness by acting ignorant do African Americans no good at all.

    User Detail :  

    Name : J-Fleming21264, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, City : Chicago, State : IL Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
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