An anonymous woman’s video on language and ethnicity is sparking a lot of discussion around the internet. The video, posted to LiveLeak three days ago by user gibberer, has already been viewed over 340,000 times.
The video is a monologue by an anonymous African-American woman. In it, she slams the fact that, to use her terms, using “proper diction” or “sounding educated” is often referred to as “talking white.”
“Alright, hear me out,” she says, “There’s no such thing as talking white or speaking white. It’s actually called speaking fluently, or speaking your language correctly.”
She says that “having proper diction doesn’t belong to the Caucasian race.”
“That really gets under my skins,” she says. “Having proper diction is what you’re supposed to do…In the same conversation that you say ‘the white man is holding us down,’ you don’t realize that you’re actually elevating this race by saying they are the only ones that are allowed to speak as though they are educated.”
Here’s the video:
The woman’s opinion has elicited a wide range of responses. Some say her message is correct and much-needed, while others point out that no group of people, whether ethnic or socially constructed, speaks “perfect English.” We all speak in dialects. When this woman talks about “sounding educated,” she’s likely referring to Standard America English, which is itself a dialect.
The video sparked a long discussion on reddit. There, users of various social and ethnic backgrounds said they’ve encountered anti-intellectual sentiments in their communities.
“In the south, people call ‘em ‘five dollar words’ and use it as an insult,” user soul-taker wrote. “Like if you use big words, you’re intentionally trying to insult them with your education. It drives me crazy.”
User drkgoddess shared a related story from her life as well.
“I'm half Cuban/ half Dominican, grew up in Miami," she wrote. "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.”