Mocking “Foreign Accents” and the Privilege of “Sounding White”


Mocking “Foreign Accents” and the Privilege of “Sounding White”

Well written and well said by MastQalander at Muslim Reverie. I think this piece is remarkably important and to international adoptees, and their families, in particular. It certainly urges us to examine one of the ways in which we are privileged that does not gain a lot of attention. I certainly have benefited greatly form having a “Standard English” “accent”. I think for many adoptees, myself included, we also benefit from having western names as well as “Standard English accents”. I strongly recommend this post even if you don’t mock “foreign accents”.

“As many anti-racist feminist writers and activists emphasize, all of us need to hold ourselves accountable for our privilege and complicity. Although, for example, people of my skin color and religious background are demonized, discriminated against, and victimized by racist laws, there are certain advantages I have as a U.S. citizen and heterosexual male who speaks with a white suburban accent. If I apply for a job, my name, skin color, and religion are clear disadvantages, but my white accent will open more possibilities for me than for South Asians who “sound foreign.” When white classmates poked fun at me with “Apu accents,” they got more of a kick out of it when they did it to Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi students who, in their minds, “spoke like that.” I had the advantage of saying, “I don’t speak that way,” which also served as a way of stating, “I’m not like them, I’m more like you.” I didn’t have to worry about being laughed at or feeling ashamed every time I opened my mouth. This does not dismiss the fact that people of color face racism on the basis of their skin color alone, but rather highlights on how we should recognize the different yet interrelated ways racism impacts us all.”

Mocking “Foreign Accents” and the Privilege of “Sounding White”

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