You Don’t Sound Black
You don’t sound Black.
Those four words are offensive yet common. Does the way a Black person speak have to sound a certain way? When Black people speak, do we have to sound “black”? Sounding a color makes sense, right? I mean, what does it truly mean to speak black? And why does it cause a reaction to the point where that statement can be asked out loud?
You’re pretty for a Black girl.
What does that mean? Are we supposed to assume that Black women are not usually pretty? Does it have to be pretty for a Black girl…can someone just be pretty?
These normalized phrases are triggering. These phrases have become part of everyday conversations. Some people use it to flirt, some to be comical, and some out of genuine curiosity. But these phrases are not normal, they’re truthfully inappropriate, and too normalized in society.
These are microaggressions. Microaggressions are statements with unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority. Although it may not directly seem like a racist comment, they are still harmful comments that are too often swept under the rug.
Many minorities hear these statements on a daily. Imagine how draining it is for someone to be constantly told that they have to look, talk, dress, or act a certain way. Constantly telling someone the way they act isn’t good enough has become common in our society.
Minorities get asked where are you really from? Or what are you mixed with? Even now in normal conversations, if you have lighter skin, longer hair, we may get asked, what are you mixed with? Or a common question is where are you really from? Those questions make it seem as if we have to be something other than just black or brown to be beautiful.
Recently, there have been more situations where offensive statements are brought to people’s attention. The common counterargument is “oh I’m not trying to be offensive I have black friends”, or it may be other black people who brush off your feelings by reassuring that what they said was a joke. However, there’s no excuse for the language. It’s still damaging for minorities to hear. In order to expect better, we have to do better.
In all actuality, it shouldn’t be our job to educate our peers. If a peer says something offensive but they disregard your thoughts, they were never really trying to change. Ignorance is not bliss and at this stage of everyone’s lifetime, it’s not the time to remain neutral.
We need people who are willing to listen and take accountability for their mistakes. For years we have put up with things that just aren’t okay, so why should we continue. The choice is ours to fix as a society, and with the recent
situations and discussions, there is no better time than now.
REPORTER: Treasure Wilson
THE VOICE, Gravity Magazine, 2020