What does “Talking White” mean?

If you are Black and are in a predominately white space, chances are someone has told you that you “talk white” as a backhanded compliment that you don’t know how to respond to.

Photo by Natasha Hall on Unsplash

Growing up in a predominately white school I remember kids telling me that I “sounded white” and that I didn’t talk “Black” so that made me less Black. I’m not sure if they thought “sounding white” was a compliment. But at a young age, what do you say when you hear this? It oftentimes just left me confused.

“Talking Black” in their mind meant sounding uneducated or ghetto to go along with the stereotype of what it means to be Black. And on the other hand, “talking white” meant that you sounded proper and educated. This stereotype and comment travels with Black people from childhood to adulthood.

Making fun of Black people for sounding different may come from a lack of ignorance around the history of speech in America. As Black people were stolen and brought to a country that did not speak their native tongue, they had to adapt to survive throughout generation. AAVE or African-American Vernacular English was essentially born through African Americans creating their language within the standard English dialect. Something often referred to as “slang” or “ebonics” is now often used among white people to sound “cool.” But oftentimes its those same exact white people who will make fun of you for “talking white.”

In this episode, the Oreos sit down to discuss what exactly it means to “talk white” and the negative implications it has on our culture and society.

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