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On Being Told I Don’t Speak Like a Black Person Essay

” On Being Told I Don’t Speak Like a Black Person” tells a story of the importance in identifying your own speech and how there is nothing more personal than your own speech. Many people change their attitude, personality and in some cases the way they speak based on their environment and surroundings. The meaning of what the author wants to get across to the reader is exemplified in lines 52-70. In those lines she says how we shouldn’t care how any one speaks no matter what race, color, or where the individual is from. She realizes this in her own experience because her mother, father, and her all speak differently and she asks one of her friends “does everyone in your family speak alike” they responded “don’t take this the wrong way, nothing personal”.

I believe it is then that the author realizes how personal ones language is and that no person should have to defend the way they speak or what language he/she speaks. I also, found it interesting how Allison, a black woman questioned why black people just drop syllables, and sound lazy, instead of just speaking clear, clean English. She brings this up because her college acquaintances noticed how she spoke like a “white” person instead of like a black American. The speaker also mentions that her acquaintances seemed sure they knew what a black person is supposed to sound like. The speaker is talking about how her acquaintances have a preconceived notion and stereotype on how black people should sound. There are a lot of cultural assumptions in this belief. There is a stereotype that black people are not as educated as white people. In my opinion, this is simply not true. Also, they may expect her to speak in Ebonics or improper English. The matter of the fact is that you should not be ashamed of where you come from and the way you speak, that is all part of your identity. Finally, people will one day perceive who you really are and respect your heritage.

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