The “Talking White” video originally posted to LiveLeak went viral Friday night, racking up more than a quarter of a million views after being posted earlier in the day and making the front page of Reddit.
In it, a young African-American woman responds to a Facebook post that rubbed her the wrong way concerning proper diction and “speaking correctly.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have the young lady’s real name, but we do have her highly intelligent rant below, in which she admonishes people within her own race for jumping on other African-Americans “guilty” of “talking white.”
You can skip to the video now, or if you’re reading this at work or in another no-audio environment, here are the high points:
“All right, hear me out,” she begins. “I just have to say, I saw this on a post on Facebook, and I wanted to talk about it on video. There’s no such thing as ‘talking white.’ It’s actually called ‘speaking fluently,’ ‘speaking your language correctly.’ I don’t know why we’ve gotten to a place where as a culture, as a race, if you sound as though you have more than a fifth grade education, it’s a bad thing.”
The woman urges people guilty of propagating the “speaking white” cliche that there is “nothing wrong” with respecting the rules of English when speaking.
“In other cultures, if you speak your language correctly and fluently, it’s actually admired,” she adds. “Wow. This person, this woman’s educated, this man is educated. Where did you go to school? This person took the time and had the drive to get it right, to speak correctly.”
She then laments that “our culture is one of the few that actually frowns upon personal evolvement.”
“So I just ask that you think about that,” she adds. “I know it’s something we don’t like to talk about but having proper diction doesn’t belong to the Caucasian race. That really gets under my skin. Having proper diction is what you’re supposed to do.”
In the end, she urges everyone to stop using the “talking white” slur.
“Think about what you’re saying because in the same conversation, you’ll say, ‘The white man’s bringing us down,’ but you don’t realize that you’re actually elevating this race by saying they’re the only ones that are allowed to speak as though they are educated. That’s not right. Think about it.”
Surprisingly, the comments on Reddit for this are good stuff, and as one person points out, “it’s not just black people” that have to face cultural pressures like this young lady is referring to.
“I’m half Cuban/half Dominican, grew up in Miami,” wrote one commenter. “One of my (former) best friends (who happens to be white/of English stock), told me that I wasn’t ‘really’ Hispanic because I’m well educated, don’t wear enormous hoop earrings, wear ‘white’ clothes, and don’t listen exclusively to Reggaeton/Bacchata/Spanish music, etc.”
“Agreed. I’m Hispanic,” wrote another, “and I have been mocked for being smart, for ‘trying too much,’ for ‘speaking white,’ and for just generally acting white. The sad thing is that these people will most likely never fully reach their potential but still blame their lack of success on not being white.”
What do you think, readers? Are cultural biases like the “talking white” misnomer counterproductive to self-improvement? Share your thoughts in our comments section.