A Compliment to Me, an Insult to my Culture

Instead of labeling ourselves with stereotypes, we should defy those stereotypes and relieve people of their ignorance.

“You talk so white.”

“Are you sure you aren’t white?”

“You’re so proper for a black girl.”

“You don’t sound like you’re from the South.”

These are all things that I have heard growing up, from family, friends, and strangers.  When I was younger, I took these as compliments, but then I realized these are actually insults to my race and culture. There are stereotypes that African-Americans are uneducated and talk “ghetto” and that people from the South have a “country accent” and are ignorant. None of those stereotypes describe me. Yes, I am African-American. Yes, I am from the South. However, I am educated and I use proper grammar. I don’t have a “country” accent, nor am I ignorant.

It especially makes me angry when African-Americans say these things to me because they are insulting themselves. They are calling themselves uneducated, but they get mad when someone of a different race calls them that—I find it very hypocritical. Instead of labeling ourselves with stereotypes, we should defy those stereotypes and relieve people of their ignorance. I realize it’s hard to change opinions of others, but we can create new opinions of ourselves in society.

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