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November 26, 2004

My McDonald's Experience

So I'm pulling into a discount-department store parking lot to look at some house plants, when my stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten in a while. I see that the grocery store shares a parking lot with a McDonald's, and I begin to weigh my options: I thought about a hamburger, but McDonald's beef makes me gag; I considered chicken, but I prefer not to support that cruel industry; how about just fries? No way, that'd probably give me a headache. Wait...don't they have a garden burger or something like that?

I pull into the drive-through and before I can get the car stopped I hear a voice, in a thick black accent, ask me for my order.

[Huh? A "black" accent? Yeah, you know the one I'm talking about, the one that hardcore rappers think is "cool", and pre-pubescent white boys try to emulate. "Black" seems like an awfully racial way to put it, but race is associated with it by the people who indulge in it. It's not exactly a multi-racial phenomenon. It should be noted, though, that I personally suspect that less than 50% of the black-skinned individuals in America are part of that culture. Those that don't take part in that culture are given a bad name in the same way that normal Muslims are given a bad reputation by Muslim extremists. Don't blame me for the association, nor for pointing it out, blame the responsible parties who practice the behavior in question, instead.]

"Do you have a veggie burger of some kind?" I ask.

The heavily accented fellow asks me to repeat that.

"Do you have a veggie burger of some kind? I can't find it on the menu, yet, but I seem to remember getting them here before."

There's a long pause.

Still pausing.

Still pausing.

I'm wondering where he went.

He finally comes back and tells me that they do.

[Notice that I'm not attempting to quote him. I couldn't if I tried. Whatever it was that he was speaking, it wasn't English, at least no more than, say, punk rock is music, or porn is cinema. The Brits sometimes complain about Americans butchering the English language...they have no idea.]

"I'll take one of those and a regular order of fries."

He asks me to repeat what I said. The thought occurs that maybe he's having a problem with the word "regular", so, for convenience rather than out of desire, I switch to a large: "I'll take a veggie burger and a large order of fries."

"Dat'll be two-turteen at da fust windoe."

That's about as close as I can come to actually typing how he spoke. And there's something about how "windoe" looks which somehow seems to suggest a better fit than "window", even though they ostensibly seem to be pronounced the same. In print, what he said just needs to be spelled "windoe" to get the full effect of trying to converse with this guy.

At this point I'm pretty irritated. But why? I'm never irritated at accents or difficulty with English. We have lots of Mexicans in Utah who, I'm sure, know just enough English to be able to understand the menus of the restaurants they work in (which, conveniently, tend to be Mexican restaurants), but that never bothers me. I also encounter Greeks, Russians...all kinds of accented individuals. Do I get irritated? Far from it...instead my most common emotion is compassion for a person who is struggling, in a way that I've never had to struggle, to fit in and to survive, live, and be secure financially. So why am I annoyed at this guy?

I pull up to the first window and I see the guy. I realize that I'm surprised by his appearance. I expected to see some idiot standing there glorifying "black-trash" culture [edit: Who says it's black trash culture?], but instead I just see an ordinary human being, a bit conservative looking even, who probably just happened to be raised in a trashy area with trashy schools where they put up with trashy speech. Compassion, predictably, replaces my irritation and I feel sorry for the guy (though I'm not sure that Bill Cosby would've joined in with me in my compassion for him).

He opens the window and asks me if I want ketchup and mustard on my veggie burger. Since when does McDonald's ask you if you want condiments on your burgers? "No, thanks." I respond, and I think that he told me that he didn't know because he'd never heard of a "veggie burger" before; I think he said that, but I'm not sure - it was just so difficult to tell. He then asked for my money again: $2.13. I hand him $3.00 and he gives me my change and closes the window. I'm left there not knowing whether to pull forward to the next window or to wait there.

As I wait, I ponder why I am irritated by the "black-trash" manner of speaking, but not other accents, and it hits me: other people take personal responsibility to adapt themselves to their environments. But the "black-trash" culture glorifies itself. It says, "We're cool for being this way!" Instead of changing themselves to suit and to thrive in their environment, people in this category blame society for their failures, then they band together with other trashy people, label their trashy speaking patterns as "ebonics", and then attempt to force society to adapt to them. Get a freaking clue!

So while still sitting at the first window, I'm watching the second and I see a young girl go to the window with my order - I pull forward and accept the bag. I park in the parking lot, open the bag, and pull out the fries. In the bottom of the bag is the smallest possible burger wrapped up in a paper that says "cheeseburger" on it. I'm thinking that this couldn't possibly be what I want. I mean, when I've had these veggie burgers at McDonald's in the past, they've always been really big - they come in the flip top boxes. Then it occurs to me: $2.13 - that's all I paid. The fries alone were $1.59 without tax. What have they given me? I reach in, pull out the package, unwrap it, open the bun, and inside I find two slices of pickle, one slice of tomato, a sprinkle of lettuce, and two slices of something resembling cheese.

No burger.

I'm now thankful that I ordered the large fries.

And I'm reminded of a political principle: If the stupid people aren't given jobs, we're left to take care of them (welfare); if they have jobs, we're left with the products of their labor. Just remember that the next time you're forced to deal with below feeble service. As for me, I shall not complain. Instead, I'll choose higher priced restaurants from here on out.

I posted this elsewhere as well and someone responded with:

The school system forced my son into speech because he had trouble with s's and s blends. I asked if they were making the black kids take speech for R's and S's since most can't even pronounce them. I was told in a shhhhh voice that it was a cultural issue and they do not make any efforts to correct it.

My white child is expected to live up to proper English standards but his black classmates are accepted 100% with their refusal to correct theirs.

Well, that's certainly one way that society helps to "keep the black man down", eh? Low standards.

Posted by Jeff at November 26, 2004 10:31 PM


You know, just picturing paying $.54 for a bun, pickles, lettuce, tomato and cheese makes me shake my head in wonder. Veggie burger, indeed.

Posted by: Jeanette at November 29, 2004 11:01 AM

jeez thats just wrong

Posted by: wera at February 10, 2005 10:05 AM

one time i had a burger from burger king and it had cum on it... "SPERM" sick man

Posted by: devin at March 31, 2005 10:02 PM

You don't have to play in to this racial typing predilection by categorizing this speech as a 'black accent'. How do you know what percentage engage in it. Whatever the 'it' is. What about the thick white accents with all the slang associated with it. Fact is you are as prejudiced as they come. I just hope you are not in any position of power.

Posted by: Charles at August 3, 2005 01:33 PM

"How do you know what percentage engage in it. [sic]"

That's classified; i.e., I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2005 04:19 PM


Posted by: ROSANA at February 21, 2006 11:37 AM

you're just ignorant... and what about white trash redneck accents...just as bad if not worse.

Posted by: one at March 12, 2006 01:42 AM

Yes, yes they are just as bad in many cases.

Posted by: Jeff at March 12, 2006 02:48 AM


Posted by: Leprechan at April 8, 2006 04:14 PM

Who said British English was correct English (not implying that ebonics is though)...the status quo is not the norm it's a social contruct for certain people to sit high up on their rockers which you seem to be happily upholding. The youth of America and the media will remind you in a quick second that America does not abide to British English...As far as accents...have youu ever heard a country song without a country accent? And they (white country folk) do their share of inventing words as well...do you know what a "shilla-grilla", "hairy-leg", or "pocket-puller" is? Didn't think so...I'm not even going to attempt to correct the paragraph about "black-trash" culture glorfying ebonics since it's obviously (speaking from the perspective of an Ivy League Degree with a double major in African-American Studies and Political Science and a lifetime of experience of being "black") written out of ignorance and biased assumptions... The lady with the kid with the speech impediment...that was a dumb questions to ask about black kids. Second, isn't it ironic that for your white son it's the teachers who are supposed to be correcting him, yet for the black classmates blame is cast upon them and their "refusal to correct their [speech]". Who's the student and who's the teacher...so who's supposed to be correcting who? Back to "Jeff" I would say go read a few books about the damage white people have done from the day this country started to yesterday, the racism that still exists, and the way cycles are still perpetuated, yet, as un-professional as this may seem, I'd rather throw them at the back of your "Jim Jeffries Social Darwinist" quack of head and keep walking. You seem to be lost beyond measure...I wish the rest of ignorant America was as bold as you so I could chuckle and know not to waste my time even looking at you...It's funny how you and many others complain about the underdog needing to get up...yet if that same gentleman were to go get an Ivy League Education, a Masters, or PHD and become your boss you'd probably have some psychological issues LoL I've seen it happen and it's quite the phenomenon. Smart black people in power!! What?! Our day will come :)

Posted by: Enlightenment at April 18, 2006 11:33 AM

@Enlightenment: You've made some very unwarranted assumptions about what it is that I actually think, "Enlightenment". You should read more carefully.

Smart black people in power? What, people with black skin? Sure: in fact, on some message boards my avatar is a Condoleeza Rice for President animated gif. Skin color is irrelevant.

Which brings us to the second point: I am no more "white" because of the color of my skin than I am "blue" because of the color of my eyes, nor I am "ten" because of the number of my fingers. Racism is precisely the association of a person's chosen thoughts, behaviors, ideas, and culture with their unchosen biological characteristics, primary among them, skin color. In the school, mentioned above, that is precisely what is happening, and kids born with black skin are getting a raw deal from their teachers (ultimately, the raw deal comes from those who promote the legislation that forces the teachers to teach that way).

You've hallucinated a bunch of crap, "Enlightenment", and projected it upon me. That is, you've PRE-JUDGED me. [sarcasm]Congratulations. [/sarcasm]

Posted by: Jeff at April 18, 2006 02:43 PM

I can understand where people can get the notion here that this article was racist by focusing on the words used and not the overall picture. Yes, there are a lot of condescending tones and words here, but there is also a message that a lot of people don't appreciate, although they notice it every day.

The point isn't about race, it's about those who rather then seek to correct these things that they don't do well, glorify them. How much slang you use doesn't bother me in the least, especially when you're hanging out with your friends, but when you go to work no matter your position you should communicate effectively and damn anyone who calls themself a teacher and then decides that this child or that shouldn't be taught how to properly communicate for any reason.

Someone also made reference to America being the cultural melting pot, there is nothing wrong with that. Correcting your speech doesn't change your diversity, my spelling correctly or speaking well doesn't change the fact that I'm a much different person with a different culture then let's say, Colin Powell, but we both use the common language to communicate effectively.

Posted by: SimplyGrin at May 15, 2006 11:38 AM

I agree that it can be hard to understand that accent, but I'm more annoyed at the suburban kids who try hard to be something they're not and put it on for "street cred."

I agree that it may limit some people's ability to move ahead in life if other people don't know what they just said. But then again, I mumble (think David Duchovny, only worse). It's easy to say that someone might be better off with different speech habits, but quite a bit harder to change in practice.

I liked an idea one of my friends had, which was to have a day where people had to take on the burdens, complaints or worries of another group unrelated to their own. Not that it's actually easy to do this, but it might build more tolerance for other people. It's often not such an easy solution when you're inside a situation as it seems to be looking in from the outside.

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Posted by: Bill at July 9, 2006 03:06 PM

I understand your frustration at your food situation but that's a result of ignorance, not indolence. It seems you have something against "ebonics" but if you and the boy at McDonald's would read a linguistics book, you would both learn that there is a difference between not knowing English and incorporating English into one's hereditary linguistic structure. The laws of English are not natural to people of African descent and if not constantly bombarded with "English" (the American version, at least), there is no way to expect them to conform to the language. Yes, most Blacks' families have been in America for 4 centuries but language is both lasting and dynamic. Not to mention the fact that most Blacks are exposed to a pre-market discrimination that allows them little to no chance to make the "progress" that you want them to make.

Posted by: Chance at July 26, 2006 09:10 AM

The "laws of English" are not *natural*, period. For anyone. There's a word to describe the view that people of certain skin colors have different abilities to handle English; that word is: racism.

We're not talking about people from other countries, here, taking on English as a second lanaguage. We're talking about people who are just like every other natural born American, no difference, at all, period. And like every other American, a choice is made. It is that choice I am criticizing.

Posted by: Jeff at July 26, 2006 11:56 AM

I agree wholeheartedly with Jeff. I think if you live in America, you should speak good English in public, especially if you work with people. I don't think you are racist Jeff, and I think everyone should make a conscious decision to speak better at whatever language they speak, in whatever country!

Posted by: Horuden at August 2, 2006 12:24 PM

Um, dude. You go to a restaurant. You order an item that is not on the menu. The kid doesn't know what you're talking about because it's _not on the menu_. Vegetarian people go to McDonald's and quite often order a burger with no meat. It's not unheard of. This is what the kid was told you were asking for, and this is what you paid for. Why are you surprised here?

Posted by: Stine at August 3, 2006 12:30 PM

You've missed the point. And, no, I won't answer, "So what is the point?" It's too obvious.

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2006 04:48 PM

Even without school, young african-americans can learn to speak effectively....it's called cable television...just avoid the music channels so you don't sound like a spoiled promiscuous yuppy brat from orange county or a crack dealer concerned about the degrees of lean in his caddy lololol.

Posted by: Alex at September 13, 2006 11:41 PM

You're not racist. Black people speak differently than their white counterparts in many instances, and most of the time it can not be contributed to geographic region or other differences. White people are called "racists" sometimes even when they're just pointing out differences and not being hateful. As for me, I'll stick to poker. Race cards isn't my game.

Posted by: James at September 15, 2006 04:48 AM

I too am frustrated with the embracement of this type of speech by not only those who speak it but also the teachers who ignore this. I think it starts with the parents; I mean they are the ones who teach you to speak. Teachers could pick up the slack and go about correcting this speech in a non-offensive manner, and I'm sure many many do. Rap music certainly doesn't help things in this case, and I'm certainly not talking about all rap music, just trash... like well any southern rap from "artists" coming from Texas or LA. There is alot of respectable rap music, and I'd rather call it hip-hip. I'm a 21 year old white Engineering student currently living in TX, and I love hip-hop, but I can't stand rap. Anyway I think rap music gives young blacks an "artform" or culture that they can embrace and emulate.

As for stupid people, well over the past year I worked at a large retailer, and there wasn't a soul there that could carry on an intelligent conversation, white or black. In fact I think I quit because I just couldn't deal with all the morons, though I cited my reason being school. What I noticed from working there is that the black men would change the way they would speak to me , a white man, but the black women didn't give a $h!t and had the most horrific "black" speech one can imagine. These are black women with kids whom I'm guessing may grow up to serve another Jeff a nice veggie burger. Anyway Jeff I feel your pain, but it's probably much worse in the south, if that's any consolation.

Posted by: Todd at September 18, 2006 06:51 AM

This is what happens when individuals refuse to assimilate into a Western Culture. We are a melting pot because everyone loses their identity in order to be welcomed into the white western establishment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I would pick America over Africa any day of the week (I lived there). As an African American male I realize that in order for me to be successful in America I must assimilate into white western culture. I believe Jeff is correct in his assessment of the current situation.

Posted by: Mark at October 10, 2006 12:26 AM

@Mark: What is so important about associating a culture with a color? Why not say "western culture"? Why *white* western culture?

Color is incidental and irrelevant, particularly and especially in America.

One day, if the "liberals" (American contemporary definition) ever get defeated and evolved out of the system, skin color will be considered as meaningless and irrelevant as height, hair and eye color.

Posted by: Jeff at October 10, 2006 01:00 AM

HAHA I happened upon this site by accident. This had to be one of the funnier things I have seen in a while. Jeff I so agree about the black accent. The comments of the "white trash/redneck accent" killed me. Do those people realize that it is normally an accent determined on where you live? Southern being the majority of what these people are talking about. Country/southern all the same. Blacks can have southern accents too. There is just no excuse for speaking like a complete retard. As for being brought up in a specific area or taught in a bad public school, well you are looking at a white girl who went to one of the worst public schools in my area. All I heard was the ignorant ramblings of black kids and the way they speak. I didnt speak this way nor do I have that ghetto accent. It is a choice to sound like a retard. If you are brought up properly and choose something better for your life and choose education...you should have no problem.

Posted by: Dezi at October 13, 2006 03:12 AM

Whoever wrote this article should be shot, if you went to Jamaica and you worked at a drive thru and someone wrote an article about your "white trash" accent and how you should talk more "black" you would probably be hurt and surprised because English is what you have grown up around. You should be ashamed at what you have written here maybe the dude just moved to your stupid country and maybe he was getting lessons did you ever think of that? You Americans don’t all speak the perfect English, half of your country has stupid accents and do you call them "trash"? No you probably don’t because they are white just like you. If I ever met you I would laugh at you for being so senseless like that lady on the comment page said if we were all the same the world would be no fun or in other words no one wants to be like the Americans, like you. And most of us "white" people are just plain ignorant we don’t know what it is like to be black all we know is what we see on TV and what we here in songs and what people tell us but there’s soo much more than that so stop being so stupid you dumb f***.

Posted by: Shani at November 12, 2006 06:39 PM

Very poor analysis, Shani. Read again and try harder. You didn't understand a thing.

Posted by: Jeff at November 12, 2006 09:16 PM

I hope you got a headache from those fries.

Posted by: Sarah at November 13, 2006 05:53 PM

I understood that whoever wrote this was a racial idiot and should be hung.

Posted by: Shani at November 19, 2006 10:25 PM


Posted by: Shani at November 19, 2006 10:27 PM

Then you understood nothing.

Either that, or you understood it all, but you're a racist yourself.

Posted by: Jeff at November 19, 2006 11:24 PM

This guy makes an educated point. The people that choose to bash him are just playing into political correctness. One cannot say anything negative about the black race or culture in America anymore. I wasn't born untill the late 70's, and was never taught too be a racist. I know and all of you know that the problems with race relations in America today have nothing to do with skin color. It is all in the rap, baby-daddy, ebonic,welfare,foodstamp,medicaid,refusal to better ones self. I am personally fed up with black culture by living in a majority black city. Yes, I am in a position of power, and will be moving within the next year. You people can call be a racisit, I'll wear it proudly. I know I'm not and could care less what the average modern day American PC idiot thinks.

Posted by: Brian at November 23, 2006 10:36 AM

yeah man you rule!! no more yo yo and ya and all that stuff I hate it

Posted by: gerald at December 3, 2006 04:30 PM

Ur a fukin' fagget. wha

Posted by: Ray Kroc at December 10, 2006 03:03 AM

Ok. Really?

Posted by: Porsche at December 16, 2006 02:19 PM

Why go to school if you are going to end up speaking poor English? I am tired of the excuses & people playing the race card. Your educational, not schooling, level is reflected by your command of the English Language. I'm not talking about those born elsewhere with accents. I am talking about people born & educated here. Grunge & trashy habits are glorified. Our standards have been lowered to accomodate the lesser advantaged. You don't raise the standards of others by lowering your own.

Posted by: DIANE at December 19, 2006 12:53 AM

Very, very good, Diane.

Posted by: Jeff at December 19, 2006 09:49 AM

I think i should voice my thoughts here...
I live in a smallish city in Australia, where most people are freindly to eachother. I recently became aware that aboriginals in the community who attended the same school as me were given free bus rides home. I originnally thought that this was unfair, but one day i walked home with an aboriginal friend of mine. On the twenty minute walk, we passed 2 people who glared at him, or averted their eyes. Another 3 actually stopped what they were doing to hurl insults at him from across the street. One going as fas as to stand in the middle of the road and tell him that his kind were ruining our country, that we were fine until he came along. (In case you dont know, aboriginals lived on australia before we came along and forced them into slave labour for sugar cane purposes.
Whats more, this reminded me that we DID force them to do the dirty work all those years ago. I believe that if you can see what they have to put up with, even in a freindly town like ours, than you can see how they may be forced into being as we see them to be.

On a related note, I can easily say that racism must be MUCH worse in the USA. But, and i'm only guessing, think that only about 25%, if not less of your black population follows the stereo types. We somehow manage to overlook the peace making heroes, doctors and generally nice people in favour of the murderers, rapists and gangsters. But of course we do, black rappers are often seen by millions of people worldwide. Murderers and rapists are shown on news programs as we follow their arrests, only leading to more discrimination. Because of this, no one wants to know about the scientists and good-doers.

In summary, black people are not black at all, we are all the same. They appear different to us, and we decided they must be, some followed that and made themselves it. We viewed them and applied it to all. Because we see them as different, we prefer to see THEM as murderers, so we know that we could never do that... I could emphasize this more, but this is already far too long.

Posted by: Stan at December 19, 2006 05:33 PM

"...before we came along..."

I suspect that you didn't "come along" at all in the manner which you suggest, but instead you're referring to your ancestors or - even more ridiculously - white skinned people. Those are unwarranted and illegitimate associations. You have nothing more to do with them than your aboriginal friend. You are not born with some "original sin" burden given to you by people of the past. You might as well argue for astrology as to argue for that.

Posted by: Jeff at December 19, 2006 07:10 PM





Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. -Wipes a single tear from his eye.- That's so wrong.

Posted by: Kyuukei at January 17, 2007 12:55 AM

i've lived in both predominantly white apartment complex's and predominantly black complex's as well as in predominantly hispanic or latino complex's ..out of the 13 complex's i've lived in since 1980,i choose the predonimantly white. i'm not saying this from racism.i'm not a racist.there's just something different about the black culture.even the latinos have a different culture than the white.finally in 2003 i found an apartment complex wherein residents aren't hanging out by their cars at all hours of the night listening to their krap and hip hop music.'nor are they grouping out by their tailgates in groups of two,three or more while guzzling their beer late hours of the night.

the apartment complex remains at a level of 10 to 15% minority at all times and never goes above the 15% ...the only real problems they've had since i've lived here are the residents that move in from time to time and decide they want to have loud parties all hours or yank up the rap music to an earpiercing volume.this is exactly why percentage of minorities here never gets any higher than 15%..they move out nearly as fast as they move in most of the time(ie,they move as soon as the 6 month or years lease is up).because they can't party hearty.i've even heard blacks claim that they're moving because they feel like their in prison living here where they can't hang in the parking lot and can't 'hang' in their cars and blast their music just anytime they want and aren't allowed to loiter on the property after 10pm.(there's a 10pm to 8am 'quiet time'here in the complex that the management heavily enforces..no loud music,no loitering outside on the property..not even sitting on your steps or hanging in your car).and to anyone that claims that there's no such thing as a black culture..don't be stupid,anybody reading this post knows exactly what i'm talking about,but it's just not acceptable these days to point those things out.if a person does point them out pubically that person is labled as a racist or ignorant or some other adjective simply for the fact that the truth is okay to point out unless it offends someone,more especially if that someone is anything but caucasian. if i ever move..i guarantee ya i'll search for another area that's predominantly 'white'.

Posted by: dennis teel at January 17, 2007 07:08 PM

Wow, dude. You have one sad world perspective.

I'd add rational arguments to the above, but clearly rational arguments don't persuade you.

It must be hard to be that ignorant.

Posted by: Jay at January 19, 2007 07:06 AM

You are a racist. It is pretty obvious through your justifying back stepping after each predjudice remark. Next time just ask for the biggot burger and a side of ignorance.

Posted by: JR at January 29, 2007 04:54 PM

^---It'd be a bit more clear if you actually named who you're referring to - lots of people have posted here.

It can't be me, though. My positions are rock solid. I wouldn't back up a millimeter.

This isn't even a thread about racism. But if it were, I'd include this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_q8LxO4wnCQ

I don't even consider that to be funny. I don't think I laughed once during the video. I consider it poignant social commentary. It's funny to those who have (people who Chris Rock refers to as) "niggers" as part of their reference group (the audience laughs almost hysterically); I don't (thank goodness).

Posted by: Jeff at January 29, 2007 06:52 PM

Only in America can black people and white people live side by side and yet have TOTALLY different accents. Not in England where I grew up or in Canada where I live now. Black Americans FAKE their stupid way of talking.
And before you go off on me I'm black too.

Posted by: Doc at January 30, 2007 03:09 PM

you got what you deserved at the mcdonald's, jeff, and worse. am i to believe that if you were to visit london you would fake a british accent to be accepted by the locals? bullshit. you are who you are.

i've dealt with plenty of asshole service industry people who speak perfectly well. i'd take a down-to-earth non-standard english speaker over a cold, shrill worker who got As in grammar class!

and who goes to a place like mcdonald's with expectations of anything remotely resembling food?

Posted by: fudpucker at February 12, 2007 10:46 AM

Its funny you all bash this guy for his observations. I work in a municipality that is 89% black. LEt me tell you the black culture is one f'ed up culture. I see people sit in front of my store and casually roll down their windows and just throw their trash out. I see kids at ALL times of the day and week who should be in school. Fights etc...I haven't a hired a black person because I haven't yet interviewed a black person for an open position who spoke on the level I require to support the image I want.

I grew up in a small town that was homogenous and white. I could not understand why people would make disparaging remarks about the black race--until I went to college. My wife who has not a negative bone in her body about others looked at me and imitated one of the disproportionately stupid questions we get that originate from a black caller and said let's get the heck out of here. This is no way to live life and we don't want our small children to think this culture is an acceptable alternative to what we have taught them.

Posted by: Smitty at February 12, 2007 11:21 AM

The social situation that african-americans are in today and 'black trash' culture has come about through many generations of discrimination and exclusion from mainstream american society. I think that the exaggerated confidence you find in hip-hop culture or the self-glorification, as you say, is an over-compensation for feelings of inferiority (the extreme displays of confidence are probably proportional to the extremerly low self-esteem) . There is a deep-seated inferiority complex (after being repeatedly told and treated like they were inferior), feelings of exclusion and a high level of social deprivation in black america and this 'black trash' culture is one of the products. There's a big difference between this and foreign immigrants who are trying to learn the language and get by.

Go to Africa and you'll see diffferent black cultures.

Please don't say black trash as nobody is trash- everybody is valuable. I think that part of the solution for young black people is to develop genuine self-love and acceptance to heal feelings of low self-worth and then there needs to be emphasis on education, support from the government and the rest of siociety, changes in the prison system and many other things.

Anger is never a solution as it only causes anger in return and deepens divisions. Love is the way forward; it heals and unifies. And we are all the same at heart. Our minds have no colour-we can and should love one another.

Posted by: Steve at February 13, 2007 01:58 PM

The whole McDonald's story was just a segue for you to get off your chest an observation that pisses you off. Why would you take a black guy working at McDonald's for 6 bucks an hour as an example for the whole race? Is this really an accurate survey? I'm willing to bet he had at least one white co-worker who was ten times more ignorant and unintelligible than the subject of your irritation (I have worked at McDonald's during high school, and believe me, they do not put the dumbest guy at the window. Dumbasses get stuck on fries)

But, I digress; the real point of my response is to let you know that you are, indeed a racist. Actually you are one of the worst kind. I would rather deal with a confederate flag waving, nigger hating redneck than a fake liberal who smiles in your face and goes home to type Go back to Africa, N-word! on his PC.

I work for one of the Big 3, and I have sat in meetings where I could not understand 80% of the people in attendance. Now, if I was a condescending racist like yourself, I would assume that 50% of the members of each of their races embrace an ignorant counter-culture and if only I could paint their skin white I could "fix" them. Please!

The truth is, anti-intellectualism has existed in this country for hundreds of years. In EVERY race there is a sub-culture that basically says smart people are nerds, dummies are cool. That is the only thing going on here. It is your racism that prevents you from seeing the big picture. These suburban kids that emulate so-called "Black accents" are doing the same thing that their generation before them did with disco, and the generation before them with rock n roll. Along with the black kids, the asian kids, the latino kids.

What I challenge you to focus on is why this incident immediately brought up race in your mind. You could have easily opened up a dialogue about McDonald's shabby service, or the fact that natural born Americans are butchering the English language worse than ever. For some reason, you decided to focus on this young man's skin color - which, in my opinion, had nothing whatsoever to do with the incident.

And before you put on your condescending tone and inform me that I need to "Read again and try harder" - don't.

Posted by: YouDontLikeUsWhoCares at February 14, 2007 12:47 PM

^---"Why would you take a black guy working at McDonald's for 6 bucks an hour as an example for the whole race?"

Why would you suggest that I did? READ AGAIN AND TRY HARDER. I mean *really*. What you've accused me of is in 180_deg polar opposition to what I've said above.

It seems to me that you've brought to the table your own prejudice and are seeing my post through your own biased lens.

There is definitely something wrong with being a racist (judging mental and character traits according to biological race [as if such a thing really even exists]). There is nothing at all wrong with judging character traits, cultural attributes, and mental abilities. That's what I've judged here: specifically, a (sub)-cultural trait.

Posted by: Jeff at February 14, 2007 05:07 PM

I have to say, Jeff, your comments didn't make me upset. I didn't think you were prejudiced for what you said, but you are speaking from the out side.Though, I didn't appreciate people from my race being considered trash in some aspects, I agree. I know the struggle that we sometimes face, but it makes me want to do better. I want better for my sons. They are not allowed to speak or dress the way most rappers speak on tv or on records. I am not ashamed of these people. They choose to live the way they do. They have enough money to do what they want to do. However, my sons are going to get an education and work in white collar America, and I know that this way of speaking will present a bigger and additional challenge for them.

If we know that our struggle is hard, then why make it harder. Oh, and for the prejudiced idiot that spoke about welfare, please read real statistics about its demography. In fact, it was created for supplemental assistance for households where the husband was away in war and the wife was home struggling to get by.
U.S. Welfare: 1845-1900,
Industrial Revolution Period for U.S., please by show of hands can anyone tell me who were the soldiers of this war. I'll give you a minute.

Posted by: SABRINA at February 23, 2007 07:29 PM

I didn't say anything about any RACE of people.
My post was about a subculture. There is a large
number of people who want to protect that
subculture (read the boxed comments at the very
bottom of my post [prior to the responses]). My
argument is against all those who want to protect
and maintain this subculture. And, incidentally,
my hallucination is that most of those people are
white skinned "intellectual liberals", as opposed
to those who are enmeshed within that culture
themselves. Most of the rest of those who want to
protect that culture are political opportunists
(Jessee Jackson, et. al.) who capitalize on
other's misfortunes (and who need people to be
unfortunate in order to continue capitalizing on

One very stark difference between "black trash" and "white trash" culture, is that everyone
recognizes "white trash" culture to be bad.
However, no one can criticize "black trash"
culture without having the "racist" epithet
hurled at them (witness the above comments in this thread, for example).

Actually, Chris Rock can get away with it:

Posted by: Jeff at February 23, 2007 11:05 PM

I don't think YOU get it. There are many of us that share the same "culture" as Chris Rock and do not support him. He uses the terms that black people have died fighting against. He makes a clear picture regarding how he feels, but I never heard you point out the fact that the same ebonics that you despise, he uses. And you need to READ WHAT YOU WROTE, and consider that every black person does not use the term "white trash". So what if other white people do, it is wrong no matter what color you are refering to. I know self proclaiming rednecks. They talk about going "muddin" and going to the redneck festival. I don't consider them trash. We see things differently but we have accepted that about each other. It wasn't always that way, but as long as America is a melting pot, that is just the way it is.
You did say something about a race of people, and that is the reason that this conversation has been going on since 2004.

Posted by: SABRINA at February 24, 2007 12:51 AM

Oh and these "red necks" I spoke about work with me at the State Attorney's Office. They are secretaries and attorneys.

Posted by: SABRINA at February 24, 2007 01:07 AM

"...consider that every black person does not use the term 'white trash'."

1. That's obvious.
2. So what?

You're right, I must not get it, because I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.


But if you have any inkling whatsoever of discussing the matter in terms which divide people into separate categories of class or character based upon skin color, you'll never achieve agreement with me. I won't even take you seriously at all. In fact, individuals grouping themselves together and limiting their behavior based upon such superficialities is what has led to the situation behind my post in the first place.

And, no, I didn't make any statements about any race of people, except insofar as specifying and/or implying that there is nothing about one's character that can be said about anyone based upon their race. Nothing. Your responses read to me as though you've projected your own preformed baggage upon my post, reading into it things that are not there.

Posted by: Jeff at February 24, 2007 10:34 AM

I could care less about you ever taking me seriously. Seriously, that was never a worry. LOL
I just believe that if you are really going to make points using this ridiculous story about McDonald's than really:
You stated that "It should be noted, though, that I personally suspect that less than 50% of the black-skinned individuals in America are part of that culture. Those that don't take part in that culture are given a bad name in the same way that normal Muslims are given a bad reputation by Muslim extremists."
I doubt 50% of my race take part. I don't now if you didn't re-read what you wrote or just went to rambling. And you only pointed out the obvious, I have baggage, yes I do. When I here people make statistics about black people and could care less if they are correct, but because it sounds good, they utter these numbers out of pure ignorance.

Posted by: SABRINA at February 24, 2007 11:39 AM

@SABRINA: What you quoted says 100% the opposite of what you're saying. This...

"It should be noted, though, that I personally suspect that less than 50% of the black-skinned individuals in America are part of that culture. Those that don't take part in that culture are given a bad name in the same way that normal Muslims are given a bad reputation by Muslim extremists."

...translates to...

"None of this post can be related in any way to anyone's race." (Obviously it cannot say anything about race, because just as many [or more] people of that race behave differently.)

Which means that my previous statement was accurate: I didn't say anything about any RACE of people.

Posted by: Jeff at February 24, 2007 04:47 PM


Posted by: SABRINA at February 24, 2007 05:38 PM

"Black skinned" is just what it says (similar to "blond haired" or "broken toothed").

I do not mean, and I will not say, "black". No one is "black". Nor is anyone "white". I am no more "white" because of the color of my skin than I am "1/2 inch" because of the width of my fingernails, nor "blue" because of the color of my eyes. People (not all people) use the term "black" as a veiled reference to a sub-culture, with the tacit implication that all people who have black skin must belong to it. How often, when you hear politicians use the term "black" or reference the "interests" of "blacks", do you recognize the intent to reference a culture? Anyone with black skin who chooses not to participate in that culture (meaning: anyone who chooses not identify himself or herself with his or her skin color) gets deemed an "Oreo" (or worse, an "Uncle Tom").


But there is no such thing as the "interests of blacks" (where "blacks" refers to the biological race) which are distinct from the interests of any other human beings. There exists great diversity and conflict of interests within populations of all skin colors, and any attempt to group peoples' interests according to skin color is just exactly what it seems to be: racism. Illogical, irrational, but extremely politically useful, racism. The "interests of blacks" can, and does, only exist when people group themselves together as a sub-culture on the basis of their race.

Posted by: Jeff at February 24, 2007 06:44 PM



Posted by: SABRINA at February 25, 2007 05:31 AM

I would like to first off say that I am a Black person who is the child of African immigrants who grew up in white suburbs, so that you understand where I am coming from. I personally do not understand "ebonics," and I have noticed that even when ebonics speakers are speaking normal English, they have a different accent, so that there really is such a thing as "sounding Black." But I take offense at you making this any different than sounding like a redneck or a country singer. Yes, these accents are clearly geographical, but so is "sounding Black." The vast majority of people who sound like this (which also includes whites and significant numbers of Hispanics) live in the inner-city, and those who live in white suburbs or other white suburbs who sound like them are either 1) trying to assimilate to what they perceive "most" black people as sounding like as a result of defensiveness of their right to Blackness, and this is the most commercially accessible model or 2) surrounded by Black family/church community members who shaped their early speech patterns. Moreover, a lot of the idiosyncracies of this inner-city way of talking share SOME characteristics with southern speech, which makes sense since the Black inner-city population moved from the South to the North only this century. So, though I think each individual has a responsibility to speak with correct grammatical structures (conjugate the word "to be," don't invent new nouns, etc) when speaking in a business or academic setting, certain ways of pronouncing things are just not going to disappear. I'm Canadian on top of everything else, and I am just always going to pronounce the word "sorry," in a certain way, and it's ridiculous for anyone to judge me for that. And if he really was following the basic rules of English, I really have to wonder how much is you not wanting to understand. Clearly, I don't know you, but you're not making much of an attempt to be sensitive here, and you're basically coming off as a condescending prick. No offense. I'm hoping that's just the bravado that the anonymity of Internet seems to instill in every blogger. :)

Posted by: Abi at March 6, 2007 01:12 PM

"...I take offense at you making this any different than sounding like a redneck or a country singer."

I didn't. You made that up. It's all in your own mind, projected by you upon my post. I did not address rednecks at all, nor country singers, nor people from Alpha Centauri 12. Nor grasshoppers, kitchen sinks, nor Pam cooking spray, for that matter.

I did reference "white trash redneck accents" in a response to someone else (who brought them up) in which case I responded, "Yes, yes they [white trash redneck accents] are just as bad in many cases." Would you care to explain, Abi, how my saying that makes them any different?

Posted by: Jeff at March 6, 2007 03:01 PM

They aren't listenig Jeff... American black people are too quick to go on the defensive to hear what you are saying. One day they will travel to another country whre the people from a geographic are speak the same REGARDLESS of race. I repeat only in the US of A do people of different races speak differently when occupying the same area of the country. (because the "black" accent is an affectation)

Posted by: Doc at March 6, 2007 03:31 PM

"...(because the 'black' accent is an affectation)"


And, although I've said nothing about it before, it IS different from the redneck phenomenon: there are no special interest groups pushing to make "Redneckese" an official foreign language or protected cultural speech (as there is with Ebonics), nor does there exist special interest groups dedicated to preserving the "redneck culture". Rednecks do not have unelected political "leaders" (see "NAACP"), nor do they have lobbyists in Washington fighting for redneck culture. Everyone, even rednecks, recognize the redneck phenomenon as being a symptom of poor education and lack of drive (Jeff Foxworthy, redneck extraordinaire, describes "redneck" as being "a glorious lack of sophistication"). Employers are not afraid to refuse to hire people who speak like a redneck into public service positions, but refusing to hire people who say "aks" instead of "ask" makes them a target of the racism accusation. (Hell, just look at what has happened to me, here, in this thread! Would the same have occurred if I had posted about people who speak like a redneck?)

Speaking "Redneckese" is like speaking "Ebonics" in many ways. However, they are unalike in many ways, including the MOST IMPORTANT of ways: politically.

Posted by: Jeff at March 6, 2007 04:14 PM

You posted "I pull into the drive-through and before I can get the car stopped I hear a voice, in a thick black accent, ask me for my order", followed by the bracketed paragraph about that "culture". Later in thread, you posted the following: "@Mark: What is so important about associating a culture with a color? Why not say "western culture"? Why *white* western culture?"
Please explain why these two are different (apart from the races cited).
You also posted "You've missed the point. And, no, I won't answer, "So what is the point?" It's too obvious", in response to Stine's comments. I'm having a hard time establishing your point as well. Is it race? Culture? Mcdonald's service? Or somthing deeper that I, and seemingly some others, must be missing?
Please explain for the slower folks, like me, because you come across in the post as person who has more compassion for chickens than for people.

Posted by: Sid at March 9, 2007 06:08 PM

You people think that if they say anything about one persons color then its racist against the whole race. You think that just one sly remark and the persons a racist. If I say something like this "Black peoples skin is different from white peoples skin in color tone". I must be a racist. Thats all I hear you guys say. Why its so bad to say stuff about black people and how its not bad to say anything about white people. Its like the time when a black person kept calling me nigger in highschool. No matter how many times I asked him to stop he kept on calling me it. I finally called him a nigger not knowing what it meant and got detention. Whats up with that? I'll tell you whats up with that. The one thing worse than being racist agaist black people is being racist agaist white people. EVERYBODY is racist against white people. Even white people themselves. Whenever somebody uses a racist remark against a white person they just shove it off. But when somebody uses a racist remark against a black person they bring a whole army to trample the person who said it. I ask you, Whats is up with THAT!

Posted by: TJ at March 20, 2007 04:45 PM

Hi brain fart. First of all, I would like thank you for showing how stupid you really are. You wanted a vegetable burger and the fine gentleman gave you the best of the best vegetables that one of your like can hope to encounter. You on the other hand wanted process hog slop, which I am convinced is what you deserved. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let speak of the "black trash" that you spoke about. There is only one universal language and that is music, (I would know because my son plays the cello and the piano) however you may too stupid to adapt to your surroundings. To fix this handicap, I suggest that you crawl back under the rock from which you ascended from. The grass that is growing beside you under that rock is what one can call true vegetation. I'm sure you'll be happy.
P.S. spend a week in the hill of North Carolina and you will find white people speaking the most unusual, disgusting, and horrendous language that one can hear. E.G. hi yawl, imma fixin ta go doun yunda. When you've cleared all of that up, come back and see me. At that point, we can begin discussing again. Brain fart I rest my case.

Posted by: Johnny at March 21, 2007 11:46 AM

^----I like that response. I always love the responses that tell us much more about the person responding than about subject the person intends to be addressing. My favorite line was this one:

"I would know because my son plays the cello and the piano...."

Posted by: Jeff at March 21, 2007 01:32 PM

The 'speech problem' in America doesn't revolve around 'black people' alone. I have heard many people of different races speak in this form and it is an insult and the ultimate form of racism to say otherwise.

Posted by: Sandie at March 23, 2007 01:48 PM

I'm actually writing a report on racism and I'm glad I came across this article , it's actually answered most of my questions.
Firstly I would like to state that I'm a native female African. born and educated there! But currently studying in Russia (which is by the way, very popular with racism ) I sometimes understand that factors like hostility, drug usage, theft and killings contribute to racism in the united states. but what I can't understand is that there are countries where black people live very peacefully but they are hated, insulted and beaten for no apparent reason let me give an example of the country am living in at the moment , there are a number of foreign students studying in Moscow, all from different parts of the world and of course, we blacks are considered more foreign because of the color of our skin , black people here don't carry guns or drive by shooting randomly ,they keep to themselves and their studies BUT seems some people can't just let that be, so since they can't find any valid reason for hating us they say we are simply not suppose to be in their country coz that's not were we belong doesn't matter what our business here is , my point is ITS ALL ABOUT THE COLOR OF THE SKIN .
Jeff you wrote that while you pulled into the drive-through , you heard a voice in "a thick black accent", ask you for your order ! I know there are some white boys who grew up in all black neighborhoods who are into rap music and think that accent is cool , now I looked at your situation this way what if the person who had served you that day was a white man (spoke like a black man and served you what that man served you ) would you have written this article ? or would you have simply brushed the incident off your mind ?, and from what I know the African- American accent originated way back in the years of slavery and the sole reason behind it was for the whites to not understand what they were talking about , its something they were proud of and continue to pretend being proud of. actually when I'm public. with my country mates I speak in my native language coz we need privacy , but that of course doesn't justify their not wanting to speak formally in some places, black people everywhere have had to put up with a lot of injustice, people don't become what they are from nowhere, something makes them that way. Its really sad but every time I'm in public(walking on the street or using public transport I've heard people hurl rude and stupid comments at me and its simply something i have learnt to ignore because I know not every one is a racist considering the fact that my roommates and neighbors are Russians and we are fine , I also know I'm a visitor in someone else's country so I can sometimes put up with nonsense, but if I was born in this country and it's the only place I can call home i just wonder what that would do to me psychologically. I would say the thing which irritates me most about hip -hop is that it promotes immorality and its becoming more and more popular by the day I would suggest that those people rapped about much more meaningful things maybe replace the word B****CH with a much more respective , word for someone they love and respect , Hah!! that's where the difference comes in with native African music which is the complete opposite of that .
In conclusion I would say don't try to force people into your society if they don't want , we all have choices we can be educated , learn to understand other people or simply close our eyes .
I know what it means to have to face racism every day in life but I also know that with hatred and revenge you can't solve anything, I hope there will come a day when people will not judge people by what they look like but by looking at what abilities they have and

Posted by: nzali at May 2, 2007 03:35 PM

I just learned that someone I know had the following experience (copy/pasting his words):


Reminds me of the summer before my 9th grade year. My mom took me to the local public high school to meet my would-be teachers. We walk into Ms. Washington's English class and she says, "Hi, I be's Ms. Washington, the ninfe grade English teacher."

My mom quickly replied, "Oh no you be's not!" and we walked out. The next day I was enrolled in Catholic High School.

Posted by: Jeff at May 3, 2007 05:06 PM

Look, plan and simple you just don't like African Americans. I am a black women and i grew up in the low poverty projects (something your ignorance would allow you to call the ghetto only because you're as dumb as ebonics and don't know the true meaning of the word) and my family and i speak perfectly fine and have made straight A's all my life in enghlish and in my communication classes. I as well as my "black" friends and family we don't have any problems pronuncing our R's or S's. Maybe you need to get a life and stop stero typing cause all African Americans don't speak ebonics.

Posted by: b07 at May 7, 2007 09:56 AM

Wow! This is a very deep debate & disturbing!

Posted by: Randy at May 7, 2007 10:12 AM

@b07: 1) I know what a "ghetto" is and what it isn't, the origins of the word, and that it has nothing to do with poverty. 2) You're correct, I don't like "African-Americans". Neither, however, do I like "Irish-Americans", "Italian-Americans", "Mexican-Americans", "Greek-Americans"...I dislike [any-hyphenate]-Americans. No matter where a person comes from, whether a natural born American or a naturalized American, whether a person's heritage is African, English, whatever, they ought to be Americans. We shouldn't be looking at one another and separating ourselves from one another into factions according to unchosen happenstance, such as skin color and heritage.

Posted by: Jeff at May 7, 2007 10:20 AM

ok you didn't answer my questions?? and all those errors are technical, so instead of replying with cheap useless comparisons , you should have simply answered the questions. you are simply a sadist who has notthing better to do but write about other people's imperfect lives, you have absolutely no idea what some people have gone through to get where they are .so don't you dare judge any person of colour for being who they are coz u don't know what its like to be be black ... i won't waste my precious time writing to some cheap skate like u coz you r probably an empty head anyway ... so if i have to write a long text and paste it, i would do it!again and it doesn't matter if some words, end up unseen, as long as it hits home.

Posted by: nzali at May 12, 2007 04:47 PM


Me: "Do I get irritated? Far from it...instead my most common emotion is compassion for a person who is struggling, in a way that I've never had to struggle, to fit in and to survive, live, and be secure financially."

You: "you are simply a sadist"

I'm sorry that you consider compassion to be sadistic. That's pretty bad, nzali.

You: "so don't you dare judge any person of colour for being who they are coz u don't know what its like to be be..."

Ah, I see, so I can't judge child molesters because I don't know what it's like to be one. That's just great. You're a very bright girl, nzali. I can't judge Nazis, or murderers, or Democrats, or Popes, or women, or politicians, or crooks or saints or...blacks...because I've never been any of them. Lovely.

I'll judge everyone, thank you very much. And as a human being, I'll support for everyone else not only the right to judge everyone else, but in addition I'll assert that it's everyone's RESPONSIBILITY to do so. And I find your statement about not judging "blacks" to be extremely offensive and insulting to "blacks"; the idea that "blacks" should be immune from judgment on the basis that they are "black", is a pronouncement that should be as offensive and repugnant as any other racist statement that you could've made about "blacks".

And, for the record, I'm not "white". I have "white" skin (sort of). I also have blue eyes, but having blue eyes doesn't make me "blue". The width of my middle fingernail is about 1/2 inch, but that doesn't determine who I am any more than the color of my skin or the color of my eyes. If you are segregating yourself - or others - on the basis of skin color, then you are a RACIST, and there is no more excuse for your political opinion than there is for a KKK racist.

Congratulations - now you've been judged too.

Posted by: Jeff at May 12, 2007 06:03 PM

"I pull up the first window and i see the guy. i realize that l'm suprised by his appearance, i expected to see some idiot standing there glorifying " black- trash culture"

this statement speaks for its self, i have nothing more to say on just how prejudiced you were and you probably still are.

But let me elucidate something here , I'm for truth and justice, and all law breakers should be judged accordingly but many are times when black people are expected to act in a certain way just because they are black,and compared to other races ,we have to prove ourselves to society, in almost evrything , you talk of the people of color not wanting to blend in the western way of life, well some of them do and when they do the are expected to become stereotypes, doesn't matter how long they try to prove their individuality, well anyway let me just go straight to the point all people are different and thats a fact, i don't know why some people can't get that into their heads ,

we all have the right to live the way we want and be what we want , and hell... talk the way we want, let the muslim women cover their faces and bodies , as for the homos well if they are happy to be what they are, society should leave them alone!!!!! no one has the right to criticize someone's choosen way of life as long they do no harm to socity . i speak three international languages and am proud to say i speak them all well ,l'm well educated atleast partly but everytime i look for work based on my speaciality of study i won't even be given a chance, i come across stupied people every now and then who call me all sorts of names,and i feel sorry for them, they might want to get to me and make me feel insecure , but that will never happen in a million years if they are ingnorant and they find my color offensive i would say its something they have to deal with, and my personality didn't come about because i try to to blend into another culture ... far from it i was simply brought to live a moral and meaninful life,
lastly lets not go about insulting each others intellectual capabilities coz u have no idea whom u are argueing with!!!
you could say you are compassionate and i believe you ,i really do ... just as i believe george bush to be a very compassionate man indeed .the bottom line is i just don't care !moreover "the article" u wrote here speaks more about your "compassionate nature jeff"
oh and as far as you calling me a racist is concerned i can say i would gladly add you last on my empty hot *RACIST*list.

Posted by: nzali at May 13, 2007 01:41 PM

Please read my December 30th post.
It's the stupid affectation that Jeff is writing about. As an "African" you wouldn't understand it until you were exposed to it. I have recently travelled to Australia and guess what. Blacks and Whites have the SAME accent.
oh and @B07 how many black women are you?

Posted by: Doc at May 14, 2007 02:17 PM

"Dat'll be two-turteen at da fust windoe."

Oh god that was my good laugh for the day

Posted by: Josh at May 14, 2007 05:31 PM

you can't change someone's accent! Why should go out of there way to waste the extra effort of trying to meet the standards of other

Posted by: nick at May 14, 2007 08:19 PM

i know its screwed up when blacks get special privileges or rights because they are racial minorities, and an insult to a negro is not just a insult but automatically a racial profilization . not to mention there privilidges in society "if you dont give one a job your going to have a lawsuit on your hands.

Posted by: Dan o at May 14, 2007 10:23 PM


for nearly 3 years now this has been festering and no one ever noticed that Jeff did not state that the person serving him at McSwill had any specific skin color at all.

He spoke about the speech and the glorification of poor speech. I grew up in an area where people are known to destroy the English language every time they open their mouths. I intentionally fought the accent starting at age 12 when on a trip to a university I was laughed at by strangers who were clearly more educated than anyone I knew simply because they made it to that level of education. To this day you will not be able to tell where I am from or what I look like in any fashion when you speak to me on the phone.

That is the way I like it. This is not about race it is about owning up to your success and creating your own dignity such that you will be beyond reproach in society.

I would rather be accepted in business and drive my exotic car home to my mansion everyday than be accepted by the fellow thugs in an inner-city slum.

Posted by: thug at May 15, 2007 03:40 PM

@ thug
you are right but its clear the person he was talking about was black, jeff is right, about the accents. but my point is if people choose to speak dress or talk in a certain way let them be, it's their choice mind you am not saying its right,but you can't force people to change their ways of life IF THEY DON'T WANT TO !!!

Posted by: nzali at May 17, 2007 03:21 AM

I agree with you on many points, Jeff. Many black people are unfortunately so caught up in being seen as "cool" and "down", and "keeping it real", that they've managed to glorigy all types of negative behaviors & habits, poor grammar and ill spoken English included. I honestly don't know why so many strive to be stupid instead of elevating themselves, given the state that the black race is in worldwide today. I don't think you're racist for pointing something out that many wonder about but are afraid to ask. Not at all.
I think that unless you have been kept from school altogether, there is no reason that you should be unable to speak your own language correctly. You learn just about all the English you need to communicate intelligently and properly in grade school, pretty much. To ignore those teachings and instead choose to mangle the language you're being taught is just that-- a choice. Unfortunately, it's a choice that many young black (and latino & white) kids make trying to be cool and down with their friends, and also to be like the rappers and "gangsta" celebrities on BET and MTV. If you don't break out of that within some time, that actually BECOMES the way you speak for good, unless you recorrect yourself.

For example, I went through a phase like that when I was a teenager, trying to sound tough and cool. I was running with some friends that talked all hard and street, and I started trying to emulate them, trying to be down.
One day when my father was home, I spoke to him in my new (and diligently practiced) dialect and he stopped me cold. "Since when do you talk like THAT??" He looked at me like I'd gone mad. "You won't be talking like that in THIS house, walking around sounding like some dummy! We didn't raise a dummy! You'd better straighten that out right NOW, or your ass will NEVER go back outside again!!"
Well...that was a bit of a wake up call for me! I will admit that at first, I rebelled a little, still talking "hard and cool" around my friends, but I soon realized that I really wasn't being myself, and got over it. Those that were really my friends accepted it and life went on.
One thing I can tell you about is the negative peer pressure you recieve in some black neighborhoods to not speak proper English. It happens all the time. I got picked on in junior high and high school for being smart. I had to be strong and fight through that. I will admit that having my father sternly overseeing my education helped to keep me on the right path. He was the one who signed my report cards! But also, I had developed a certain pride in being smart and getting good grades. I knew that I could step into any room, sit at any table and hold my own as an intelligent, young, black woman. Everyone saw that in me, like it or not, and responded to it, good or bad. I learned to INSIST on being myself, no matter what someone else said.

All my life, I've met all ages of black people who speak broken, f*cked up English and think it's cute. I know that many of them have fallen prey to that same peer pressure I went thru, and now also have the added influence by rap and hip hop media to speak ridiculously because it's "jiggy".
And nowadays we have plenty of positive, intelligent black role models for everyone to see, and they all speak articulately and intelligently....just like me. You can choose to follow and be inspired by them instead of some street gangsta image.

News flash, my black people. It's not cute. It's not "down". And most importantly, sounding like a dumb ass that can't speak your own home born language correctly is NOT BLACK. It's just stupid. Get a grip and seek better for yourself!

Posted by: New York Diva at May 28, 2007 03:14 PM

I undersand what you are saying! I dont under stand why people have left comments saying you are a racist! Its okay for blacks and mexicans and others to say how they feel about white people but when we have an opinon we are called "white trash, red neck or kkk or racist"! we are suposed to keep our mouths shut and and take it up the tail pipe! Where I live whites are the minority! And you have to speak spanish in order to get most jobs now a days. We have a large population of black people as well I dont have problems with most , but it is scary to walk around at night or day because they dont like us out here.

Posted by: vonnie at May 29, 2007 11:01 AM

They probably did it because you are white.

Posted by: astroner at June 2, 2007 01:07 PM

I found the original article fun to read and so true of many of the services that we now have to deal with---from the people at take-out windows----to the people that help us each day over the phone with tech information or taking purchase orders.

I liked the comments of "SimplyGrinning" (above) and thought that covered the issue correctly. However, having not had a chance to read every comment, and risking the chance that it may already have been mentioned, I would still like to add a thought of my own.

I don't believe that the article was started in a racial context, but it certainly has bloomed into one. One needs to step back and take a look at the WHOLE picture---and NOT from a racial point of view. I would think that any service job that requires a verbal communication should start with at least one person being the best skilled that they can be. As a company, you never know who your customers are going to be or how badly they may destroy the English language on their own. You have no control over that though. Imagine both the customer AND service provider having their own different warped versions of what English should be. What a nightmare that could become. So again, isn't it up to a place like McDonalds to make sure that the person at the order window possesses the best skills possible for not only understanding and reciting English, but also for their manners and friendliness and ability it make you feel that your business is appreciated---even if it is ONLY a McDonalds?

I'm sure that the pay is no better working the window then flipping burgers in the back. So put that guy in the back---and bring someone forward that can speak "normal" English. Accepting someone working the window that has poor speaking skills is no different than accepting someone flipping burgers that drops every other one on the floor. Do you think McDonalds would accept a 50% loss of burgers to the floor and write it off as--"Oh, it's just a culture thing. We accept that they have a little more trouble with coordination than other people might" You KNOW they wouldn't. Well then in the same perspective they shouldn't allow someone at a window that didn't offer the best skills possible for that position. (Hmmmm---perhaps he was the best. Now that would be a sad thought.)

English is still the root language that America was founded on. I don't care how many ethnic versions of it are in the so called "melting pot" that everyone is talking about. If you took a course on the English language I don't believe that you would also be taught all of the slang versions that have developed over the years. English is ENGLISH!! We need to hold onto English as the root ---and get as many people as possible to grow up learning it--or returning to it if they didn't first learn it---or learn it now, if they are coming from some other place. If we accept a spin-off of English as OK--then why might it too become a root. Then where will we go from there? Soon there will be spin-offs of spin-offs of spin-offs until we are speaking some sort of alien pig latten garbage that only a handful of people understand.

Again---get that guy OUT of the window!!!

Posted by: Alan at June 3, 2007 07:59 AM

New York Diva!
Absolutely right on the money!

Posted by: Doc at June 6, 2007 08:13 AM

Question people. weren't we talking about McDonalds? how did we get on the subject of black and white (can you believe it 300 years later and we still don't get along)when we should be over it by now. Whoever posted this (i swear i really don't know, i didn't even bother) has his or her own opinions and we must respect them. And if ya'll DARE yel;l back at me i'm gonna find a way to track ya'll down and make ya'll suffer, believe me, me and my friends enjoy making the lifes of those we hate miserable. So please respect what i have said and take it into consideration (im impressed for my age and im still a teen, i have alot more since than you guys do. And for thse who think black people are dumb. I laugh, by 2050 we are going to be ruling united states. Ja Ne. By the way that means see ya. Hopefully i don't)

Posted by: Miyako at June 11, 2007 12:28 PM

I agree with you there is no reason what so ever that black kids have demeaned themselves. And then we go around saying we are not getting the respect we deserve. What respect? We don't give it to ourselves, walking around trying to be cool, selling crack off the street, getting into trouble, and going to jail, no forgive me, Prison. Bet they won't think it is cool when they go get raped up in there. I'm lucky that my family is raising me with sense. I know what I want to do, and I am working hard to get there, I have six more years until i go to college but I sure am working hard. I am a proud black teenage female who personally fonds it a shame to see people of my age group acting the way they are. But i think we can get better. And for the love of God and all that is good. Can we get off the race and religion thing?! it is tiring hearing people hate on the muslims (got several friends who are muslims) and the jewish (friends to) and the buddhist and hindus (yep them to) i got all sorts of friends of different religions and races and it does not cause problams for us so why can't anybody else get along? people think we don't see things at our "young, tender, confused " stage. I once again laugh at that. That is a bunch of forgive my language bullshit! (excuse me i need to go cool off, so like i said the last time, think about what i said ......erm....wrote)

Posted by: Miyako at June 11, 2007 12:39 PM

Hey People!!!!Over Here!!!!Many of you made some good points about racism...BUT...It was how you interpreted the article! and not how I interpretted it!!! We all interpretted it in different ways. I didn't think it had much to do with racism and "whites" and "blacks" at all. It was about communication and how other than try to correct things that are not necessarily wrong with a person and how a person talks and how a person acts that person or Persons "glorifies" in their shortcomings instead of trying to overcome it and be better for it!(well that's how I saw it.)

"News flash, my black people. It's not cute. It's not "down". And most importantly, sounding like a dumb ass that can't speak your own home born language correctly is NOT BLACK. It's just stupid. Get a grip and seek better for yourself!" this is what New York Diva said and she obviously got the point of the article and I commend her and all those others who weren't so quick to judge Jeff as a racist instead of seeing the big picture.

It's utterly pathetic how this turned into a racial debate when the article had nothing to do with race, but with the way people butcher the English Language and blame it on oppression. Just like Doc said "…(because the 'black' accent is an affectation)"no matter what color your skin is, I think, that the majority of the time you won't be judge by your skin color but by how you present yourself, the company you keep, the way you communicate and how you deal with your shortcomings(which was what the article was really about)!! But for some strange reason some people in the so called "black community" which I'm not quite sure where this so-called community is located, chose to blast their "rap" (which is at times very degrading to women),stand on the corner looking like a drug deal is about to go down, speak, not just improperly but also incoherently, dress with pants 300 times too big that for some reason or another hang from their ankles…and then after doing all of this they blame the "white man" for keeping them down, when infact they just don't want to come up!

I really don't understand how some of you could say that he(Jeff) is a racist when, as thug stated, Jeff never mentioned the color of the guy's skin…BECAUSE IT DIDN'T MATTER!!!!... Those of you who assumed he was a "black" guy are the racists!!!! I'm actually not quite sure how the assumption that the guy was black ever came to be. @nzali: I don't think it's clear that the person at the window was black. It's clear, because Jeff stated it, that the person at the window spoke in an "black-accent" that is considered as "cool" when infact I find it sad. I agree with you about what you said which is...

"my point is if people choose to speak dress or talk in a certain way let them be, it's their choice mind you, [I] am not saying its right, but you can't force people to change their ways of life IF THEY DON'T WANT TO !!!"

But I didn't see him as forcing people the change their ways of life. He's, in my opinion, trying to make a point of what has become of the English language and what has become of the "black" "african american" "whatever" culture and how It seems, to me, that they think that people, preferably "white people," owe them something because of their "suffering"!!! However, they don't seem to understand that their ancestors were the ones who suffered not them. Is it Jeff's fault that the guy at the window chose to speak like that? Uh…erm….NO!!

I've touched on a number of subjects but what I'm trying to say has already been said for me by NewYorkDiva :
"News flash, my black people. It's not cute. It's not "down". And most importantly, sounding like a dumb ass that can't speak your own home born language correctly is NOT BLACK. It's just stupid. Get a grip and seek better for yourself!"

Posted by: Febbie at June 14, 2007 03:34 PM

You make me laugh. For someone who would seemingly be totally against a bias or prejudice statement, you sure make a lot of them. First off, not supporting "that cruel industry?" Do you even know what your talking about? Let me guess, you saw a bunch of liberal assholes talking on the internet about how cruel farmers are. Whatever. You want to see cruelty? Go to a village in South America and watch them sacrifice a small child to their God just so they can have chickens to eat. I have no problem with a vegetarian, and I can understand your dislike of a McDonald's meat patty. But you are nothing more than a hypocrite. Compassion? This from someone who uses words like 'trashy' and 'stupid.' Stick your form of compassion right up your ass. I work at McDonald's. Most of the people I work with either picked up the job because they're a grandmother with nothing left to do or they're a kid working their way through college. You want to hear the funniest part about all of this? You should hear us talk about you. The people who come through the drive-thru and whisper or yell... don't know how to answer if they'd like crispy or grilled chicken on their salad, asking for prices of things that are right in front of them. Point is, just because you have a bug up your ass about ONE person doesn't mean you have to stereotype an entire culture. Oh, and just a sidenote, most McDonald's don't have a 'Veggie Burger...' we simply don't put meat on whatever it is that you order.

Next order of business. Why should anyone in America have to blend? That's why we're all here. The Puritans didn't blend when they first came over. Hell no! They just shoved anyone in their way off to the Pacific and made camp. Unless you're Native, you're somewhere in a line of immigrants. English isn't even the original language of this country... How many of you can speak Ho-Chunk or Pottawatomie? That's what I thought. Is it Jeff's fault that the guy at the window spoke like that? No. Is it Jeff's fault that he chose to be a complete dick about it and stereotype McDonald's based on one guy? Yes. It is. I'm not talking about black or white here... my point in this entire comment (if it's unclear; which is more than likely the case [I ramble a lot]) is that America is a free place... which is why it's so wonderful. But it's getting worse instead of better. People now aren't supposed to be 'racist' and have biases about skin color. So they find other things... Jobs, neighborhoods, levels of education, to base their prejudice on. Maybe that guy had a serious speech impediment and couldn't do anything about it. Maybe he was an orphan who was trying to educate himself (most people need a job to do that). Or maybe he was just a dickhead. Who knows? But maybe next time you'll think before you decide to judge every person who works in fast food.

Posted by: Jacob at June 20, 2007 02:38 AM

u kno wut u cant discriminate on a person just because u dont like da way dey talk....look i type like dat but u know wut im WHITE. so stop being sooo damn shallow. derz no way dat u act black or act white, u act who you are, datz it, and i wuz raised up around a lot of black ppl and i luv black ppl, i have a black bf and my mom loves him sooo i think itz pretty clear dat u r just a racist bitch, who has no clue wut da hell ur talkin about. 4 example say dat ur wife ALL OF A SUDDEN turned black, wuld u automatically stop luving her, cuz dat iz NOT LOVE! i cant beleive u can be sooo idiotic. u really need help.

Posted by: lauren at June 22, 2007 04:31 PM

^----If someone could translate that into English for me, I'd be ever so grateful.

Posted by: Jeff at June 22, 2007 09:44 PM

I think that was "Buckwild" From Flavor of Love 2

Posted by: Doc at June 26, 2007 09:30 AM

Wow - you really pushed some buttons here.

I'd first like to say that perhaps if you'd used the term "urban accent", you might have gotten a lot less flack. That's the funny thing about PC speech - you can say something in a "less offensive" way, but it still means the same thing - and people know it.

Secondly, I agree basically with your idea that there are some forms of speech that are irritating and make the speaker come across as 1) lazy 2) ignorant and ill-educated or 3) just plain stupid. Or maybe a combination of the above. It may not be fair, but it is the case. Some accents have that baggage attached. I personally find some versions of the US Southern accent to be that way.

You seem to have offended a number of people who aren't too bright or educated themselves. They are unable to read your piece in a critical way (I said critical, not criticizing - subtle difference) and try to understand what you are saying, even if they feel some of it is not worded in a way they find palatable.

I can't stand it when people play the victim card: I can't get ahead / be successful / be happy because I'm black / white / latino / short / tall / went to a public school / dress differently etc. What that really says is: I'm not responsible for my own life, I'm a victim of society, therefore I'm just going to sit here and do nothing.

Other people do not define you and if you sit around moaning about how other people are racist or elitist or whatever and don't like you because of the above-named factors, then you are wasting precious energy that could be spent improving yourself, enjoying your life and being happy. (and when I say improving yourself, I mean that no one is perfect but we should strive to be so, and therefore we all require some efforts to improve ourselves and our characters in some way)

The sad truth is people with horrible speech need to do something to change it and, yes, fit in with the mainstream culture. It is people from the mainstream culture who primarily do the hiring and firing. If you cannot speak like a semi-educated person then no one will take you seriously, no one will hire you for really important well-paying jobs. True fact. End of story. (Can I also add - people who can't write well or spell correctly too?)

So stop moaning that Jeff is racist and try to grasp the basics of what he has said here, even if you don't quite like the way in which he has phrased it. If you think he is a racist - let me tell you - you haven't really met a true racist - they are REALLY vile ignorant evil people.

Posted by: BitchOnWheels at June 27, 2007 02:22 AM

so.... if speaking/writing english properly and having a clean and possibly professional appearance are two of the major factors involved in getting and keeping a decent job... those of any race who refuse to adhere to these blatantly obvious stipulations for any reason are probably going to end up with low paying jobs, or manual labor jobs, if any. personally, i think the solution is to pimp some hoes and sling some rock instead [maybe boost some stereos, who knows], and then write songs about how cool my lifestyle is...get rich or die trying. it will certainly cause my peers to idolize me, and behave in the same fashion. some people simply prefer ignorance and violence. plus, you can make a lot of money selling crack.

Posted by: mort at June 27, 2007 10:01 PM

oh, i forgot to mention another fun part of...lets call it 'urban hiphop culture', is shit talking and/or drive-by shootings/jumpings of people caught 'disrespectin' [i.e. having a different or articulate opinion] or simply wearing the wrong clothes/colors in the wrong part of town. im sorry, maybe im racist or equally ignorant, or whatever, but anyone who supports this culture or thinks its cool is f--king retarded. if anyone think these things i've mentioned are not integral CORE components to this particular 'culture' then you need to buy some hiphop cds [besides will smith] or interview some real inner city thugs, and see if they do not confirm this. plenty of them out there, white, black, hispanic. go ahead, ask them. i'll wait. jeff's right about the willfull ignorance issue, but lets not forget the bigger issues of violence and substance abuse that go hand in hand with it.

Posted by: mort at June 27, 2007 10:37 PM

better to go hungry than to patronize mcdonalds. its a low class outfit, usually employing people who are grim and who hate their lives.

of course its tough dealing with endless lines of customers, but we all have stress in our jobs.

that whole corporation with its stupid slogans and tacky ambience just sucks. i wish theyd die.

Posted by: jason at July 17, 2007 11:15 AM

What does McDonald's add to their "beef" that makes it taste so horrible? Anyone know?

Posted by: Charlotte at July 25, 2007 08:25 PM

I'm 62 years old and was raised in a mixed neighborhood, attended school that was 60% black and realized a long time ago black people have their own language and culture. It didn't affect the way I talk or dress.

Posted by: Jerry at August 11, 2007 08:11 PM

Only in America Jerry...Only in America.

Posted by: Doc at August 20, 2007 09:19 AM

I think the issue here is that ghetto culture is often portrayed as "black culture," and used as an identity. Those who are a part of ghetto culture don't want to play by the rules. So they label the rules of society as "white," and their own ghetto rules as "black." Thus begins the argument of, "You can't make me stop acting this way - it's part of my culture! And I can't accept any part of 'white' culture, because then I would be less black!"

So we're told that ghetto people are black, but people with black skin who speak proper English and dress like respectable individuals are not black. We also may not discriminate against ghetto people based on their manner of speech and/or dress, lest we be accused of racism. However, if a white person were to speak and dress the same, we could discriminate against him or her to our hearts' content. So when it comes down to it, we're expected to treat ghetto people differently because of the color of their skin. So who's the racist in this equation?

In the 50's and 60's, the lesson was that we shouldn't treat people any different because of their skin color. Nowadays, the lesson is that we should - black people (yet strangely those of the ghetto variety - exclusively) should be allowed to do whatever they want and get whatever they want whenever they want, simply because they are black. And then they throw a temper-tantrum when society says, "No way in hell. Pull your pants up, speak like an educated individual, lose the ghetto culture, and we'll be happy to let you play."

Way to destroy everything for which your parents fought. Well done.

In closing, "ghetto" and "black" are not synonymous, regardless of how much ghetto people would like us to think so. Ghetto people (along with their culture) should be recognized for what they really are - a scourge on America, fit for the Colloseum.

Racism will always exist, so long as people continue to celebrate diversity and subsitute their race and/or culture for an identity of their own.

Posted by: Kyle at October 9, 2007 10:35 AM

Go Kyle Go!

Posted by: Doc at October 16, 2007 08:43 AM

Hey Jeff,

It's obvious why English-speakers should strive to adhere to a standardized system of grammar, but, when it comes to accents, I feel the issue is not so clear-cut. Your quote from the McDonald's worker, although heavily accented, made since grammatically: "That'll be $2.13 at the first window". Why they, did his manner of speech make him seem ignorant, whereas a British accent would most likely have had the opposite effect?

The answer is that the "black accent", even when paired with proper grammar, is associated with black people (or black-skinned people), who are commonly thought of as ignorant. Maybe it is our perception of the black accent which ought to be changed, rather than the accent itself?

Posted by: Michelle at October 19, 2007 11:02 AM

No, Michelle.

The answer does not lie in skin color. Calling it a "black accent" is quite erroneous - I know a number of black people who would take great offense to that.

The fact is, it is a ghetto accent, plain and simple. Ghetto people want you to think it is a "black" thing, because doing so will ensure that you accept it - lest you be labeled a racist.

It's not that black people are considered to be ignorant. It's that ghetto people ARE ignorant, and want to make "ghetto" and "black" synonymous.

What they do not realize is that by doing so they are actually backsliding on the equality issue.

Posted by: Kyle at October 24, 2007 08:59 AM

Well, Kyle.

I am one "black person" who both uses proper grammar and has an accent which I would not characterize as ghetto but would characterize as being indicative of an individual raised within America's black culture. Is it inconceivable to you that some American blacks were raised in almost exclusively black communities, developed a unique accent as a result of their isolation from white America, and maintained said accent over generations despite their level of education or departure from the predominately black community of their birth? I am talking about an accent here, not a dialect.

If you are referring to a stereotypically black dialect when you say "ghetto accent", then we are discussing two entirely different issues. The distortion of English grammar in such a dialect would obviously lead those who do not share that dialect to think of the users as ignorant of proper grammar. However, if you are referring to what is commonly thought of as a "black accent", as I am, then we are merely discussing a matter of pronunciation, something that I'm sure you realize generally differs between many English-speaking communities: American and British, New Yorker and Bostonian, and yes, White American and Black American.

Everyone should know the grammar of their own language and use it properly, but to me, ACCENT is an entirely different story. What is your basis for believing that anyone with an accent that is perceived as ignorant or uncouth by the general populace should seek to change that accent rather than to change the minds of the majority? Is it a matter of making life easier for oneself through conformity or a reluctance to make life harder for oneself by standing up against prejudice?

Posted by: Michelle at October 24, 2007 09:27 AM

Michelle, you should read the entire blog.
Many months ago I pointed out that only in America do black people and white people who live in the same area have dirffering accents.
The reason is as you have said "they have maintained this accent" by maintain what you really mean is "put on". It is fake...an affectation. Something purposely used to "keep it real" and stay black. Trust me, I'm black as the ace of spades but you wouldn't know from speaking to me on the phone. Why? because I'm not American!

Posted by: Doc at October 24, 2007 10:28 AM

You say that because in America blacks and whites live in the same area, yet have differing accents, this must mean that the "black accent" is an affectation. What you fail to recognize is that for generations American blacks and whites have occupied separate communities in the same towns, attended separate schools, and neglected to engage in the sort of social contact necessary for the development of identical patterns of speech. The end of Jim Crow does not necessarily mean the end of its inherited speech patterns, and the result of this is the "black accent" heard today from children who, while not segregated from whites themselves, acquired their accents from parents who were, themselves, segregated during their formative years.

By "maintained this accent" I meant "retained this accent"; I was discussing situations in which speech patterns have been acquired involuntary through observation and imitation. As with any accent, this can and does occur with the black accent. While it is possible to affect any accent one wishes after a conscious attempt to do so, to say that everyone who possesses a "black accent" is guilty of this is a vast oversimplification resulting from a complete disregard of historical circumstances.

Posted by: Michelle at October 24, 2007 01:01 PM

Valid points Michelle, but you fail to acknowledge the fact that there was segregation all over the world, not just the United States.
Given your logic black people in South Africa would have different accents than their white Afrikaaner neighbours, but this is not the case.
Jamaican whites and Chinese would have different accents than their black neighbours, but this is not the case. British, Canadian, Bajan Guyanese, all of these nationalities that have the same taint of slavery and defacto segregation should fall to your point but it is not the case.
Historical circumstances throiughout the world support my argument.

Posted by: Doc at October 25, 2007 09:27 AM

Michelle -

I recently made a trip to Atlanta for a friend's wedding. While there, I met one of her local friends. During one of our conversations, this woman mentioned that she had lived in the area her entire life. I was quite surprised, as she did not have the slightest hint of an accent. When I mentioned this, her response was, "Well, that's because I'm educated."

This person realized that the accent commonly associated with her region makes the speaker sound uneducated and unintelligent, and thus learned to speak in a way that has the opposite effect.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Posted by: Kyle at November 4, 2007 04:22 PM

First off, kudos ad infinitum to Jeff, Doc, and all others who share their viewpoints. I wholeheartedly support you.

In order to avoid unfounded comments from PC activists and the people who consistently maintain (years after the fact) that this is a racial issue Jeff related, I'd like to provide a meager backstory on my own life.

Having been raised in a military home, I grew up pretty much everywhere in America, from Virginia down across the entire southern U.S. over to Southern California. Not until I was 'discharged' from said lifestyle in 2005 and enrolled in public high school could I truly see the extent to which the self-deprecating, ignorance-glorifying, festering cancer known as "black" culture has affected a good portion of American youth. All my life I had grown up with 'African-Americans' who functioned with rationality and intelligence; some of whom I count among my dearest friends. However, now I had seen a new race perpetuated by the media for the past umpteen years: the urban black. These people depreciated their own self-worth by refusing to become educated, act with a modicum of civility, respect women, pay attention to personal hygiene, speak proper (or even intelligible for one unaccustomed to ebonics) English, utter one sentence without a plethora of profane and racial epithets, or demonstrate any other attitude other than the one espoused on MTV and VH1.


On the subject of ebonics, I can respect educated people who have learned and chiefly speak/write SAE (Standard American English)-- or any Standard English for that matter--to converse in assimilated society and still choose to use ebonics in a private setting, but people who refuse to educate themselves (which they don't even have to do THAT because the American public school system is a joke, teachers do all the work for the students) or even learn the common language and instead wallow in their own ignorance can hardly expect to hold a job requiring any level of social interaction, let alone one that can sustain a person, God forbid a career.

Let me stress that I do not believe that the use of ebonics alone indicates a lack of intelligence. Living (unfortunately) in Alabama for the past three years, I have seen a breeed of white people who are just as bad as the thug culture, only with that gross Southern butchering of vowels and triplicate syllable count. I realized as soon as I moved here that from previous experience people stereotyped Southerners as being unintelligent because of their horrific pronounciation. Thus, I resolved not to assimilate the Southern dialect into my speech because even though I know personally many highly intelligent users of said dialect I knew it would have an adverse effect on me in other regions of the U.S. The same is true for black people and ebonics. Ebonics is not a problem in itself unless it is used as a primary method of communication AND is accompanied by ignorance and a loathing for education.

On the subject of the ties between skin color and economic condition, the current viewpoint espoused by our Congress that black people are poor and uneducated because economic conditions beyond their control force them to inhabit their current position.


Ignorance and stupidity are the root of said problems 99.99995% of the time. The list of those who escaped the slums (I won't say 'ghetto' because that use of the word is an insult to those to actually experienced the 'Ghetto' itself) is innumerable, and they all achieved success through hard work, determination, and a willingness to LEARN. Of course, we can't have that told to the public, better to keep the PC wool over their eyes...you can say that about white trash, because society acknowledges white trash for what it is. We can't say black trash, though, that's offensive!

Dear Lord, when will the American public wake up?!

Posted by: Max at November 16, 2007 07:39 PM

It seems that a high percentage of educated middle-aged Black people speak without an accent. Yet a higher percentage of young Black people have adopted or kept the Black accent. What I mean by a "Black accent" is simply a Southern accent with nuances traditionally used by Southern Blacks and not by Southern Whites. And I for one believe it is used out of loyalty to a perceived ethnic group. This accent enables those who hear it to identify a Black person without ever seeing the person. It's ironic that Blacks complain about being treated differently. Yet some go out of their way to make sure they sound and act differently. But back to the Black accent specifically: It is basically Southern. Yet, Blacks who never lived in the south have it and it doesn't matter WHERE in the country they are from! This is what differentiates this accent from other regional and ethnic accents. White people who grow up in Oregon don't have a New York accent! Yet, Blacks from ANY area of the country have the SAME accent! Now imagine a white Southerner who moves to Maine and then has children. What would you think if his children grew up speaking with Southern accents?? What I'd think is that the children have been AVOIDING other folks in their geographical area. OR they dislike the area where they live and are DELIBERATELY speaking in another accent to show contempt and disdain for those around them. In other words, the Black accent is most often a sign of racism against non-blacks!

Posted by: Laura at January 7, 2008 12:12 AM

I am neither black, nor white and not a native speaker of English. I make business trips to USA once or twice evey year. When I first came here 7 years back, I had a thick accent and spoke way too fast for Americans to understand me. However, I realized I had a problem and worked on it. Now, I speak perfect English with a neutral accent, which though not American, is well understood here.
I totally agree with Jeff about the trash accent culture; I have met lots of people in Texas, especially in train stations and the like, whose spoken language can hardly be termed English. All that I can understand is the constant "know what i'm saaayin" part.
I really fail to understand why a group of people would want to keep a trashy undecipherable accent despite living in a country where most people speak legible good English. If a foreigner like me can improve, someone whose mother tongue is English definitely can. It is no good crying "racism" when someone points out something that is actually bad and can be corrected

Posted by: Loafer at January 20, 2008 12:44 PM

Loafer. you hit it right on the head. "trash accent"( not white, black, hispanic, asian, indian etc...)just "trash". I like the term "gutter language" as well but you nailed it lol.

I live in canada and a segment of our urban and suburban youth talk like they are from the "dirty south", although i hardly think any of them have been out of their home province let alone across the border to the south long enough to pick up the dialect "honestly" lol.

IMO as far as "ebonics" goes, it's just like "pigeon", "creole" or "pig latin", it's a dialect/code like any other.
the only problem i have with it is the fact that it is used by "blacks"(yes i said "blacks", although i called them "colored fullers" in my day(the rough crowd i hung around with got a kick out of that every time i said it lol), because many's the time i have been told by a friend that it is a "black thang" lol)specifically as a tool in the same manner it was "wayyy back in the day", to exclude "the man" from a conversation(as soon as you use anything as a tool to exclude another, that's discrimination "cut and dried"),although i am sure there are different regional dialects used by any who actually grew up "having to utilize it".

just to head off the "who the hell are you to say", I "was" one of the many "white boys" in my "hood" lol, intimately aquainted with the welfare system and "that's how we rolled" i needed a translator back then like i do now depending on whether my boss is french or not lol.

Posted by: Howie at March 1, 2008 05:37 PM

Hey Howie...Doc is from Toronto

Posted by: Doc at April 4, 2008 08:35 AM


I just knew I'd be able to back you up...

Just today I listened to a clip on Yahoo! about an Australian man who saved his wife from a crocodile's grip. If you can, close your eyes while he's speaking. You tell me whether he's white or black.

(Unfortunately, the spam filter wouldn't allow me to put the link to the video here. You'll have to search Yahoo! yourself.)

I really enjoyed listening to this clip-- the voices of the people recounting their tale are beautiful and soothing. Anyway, that being said, you're correct: black people, born here (America), have a different accent than white people also born here.

In the answers to a Yahoo! question I recently read an interesting "argument" against what you're saying... Ian basically says that we (whites) don't say anything about Asian people who speak with an accent, while we criticize blacks for having one. Ian, the defender of accents states, "Many Asians and Orientals speak english differnently than some Americans, only becasue of there culture, but there is nothing wrong with how they speak, I understand them with no problem whatsoever, as I do the black community!!! It is part of the culture!"

This completely does not address the point you're trying to make. First of all, the complainant is assuming Asians should have an accent! Second, HAVE YOU EVER MET AN ASIAN PERSON, BORN IN AMERICA, WHO PUTS ON AN ASIAN ACCENT? I NEVER have. In fact, I've met Asian people who've only been living in the US for as little as 3 years with no TRACE of an Asian accent. Even if Asians do have accents, it's only because English is not their first language unless it's a geographical reason (i.e. he/she lives in Nashville versus Boston.)

I grew up in a very diverse area-- Baltimore, Maryland. Many of my neighbors were (still are) black. Many of the kids I grew up with are black. I'd be willing to bet $1,000.00 that if blindfolded, you'd be able to tell that I'm white and that my black friends are black just by listening to us speak. We grew up on the SAME street!

So, we have to make the distinction that the accent we're talking about is actually coming from those blacks born in America. Now, the excuse again becomes culture. Ah, the ever-elusive culture argument...

By the way, did you notice Ian referred to Asians as "Orientals!!!"

I once took an Life/Health Insurance class to get my license and my teacher botched the English language so badly that I had to drop the class and take it somewhere else. Not only did this "educated" black teacher refer to Asians with an incorrect label, but she also pronounced the offensive word as ORILENTILS. I was so besides myself when she said that that I literally wanted to strike her. Of course, words like ASK and WITH were not safe from her either.LOL

Interestingly enough, last week I met someone I had no idea was "black." He looked Caucasian to probably anyone who looked at him; it was only until he started to speak did I realize he was black and began noticing other, physical, characteristics. Had he sounded "white," I never would've known he wasn't. There's just a different sound-- I can't even describe it... setting aside the butchering of the language, there's oftentimes (not always) a difference in the SOUND between black and white voices. Do you know what I'm talking about?

My pet peeve is when I hear ANY accent from newscasters. I thought they were supposed to get rid of any "sound" other than standard? I was in Florida a couple of months ago, and the newscasters had Southern drawls! In Baltimore, we have the "Baltimoron" accent glorified over our airwaves. It's really disgusting!

The fact is, people who talk the way you describe will call you a racist if you criticize it. I don't think this problem will be worked out in our lifetime.

Posted by: Language Lover at April 5, 2008 07:02 AM

At least the kids are out there doing some kind of "job". Not out on the streets dealing drugs etc. As for the veggie burger- you actually got what you asked for! LOL! Did you not??? Those kids you claim to be stupid were acually pretty creative and gave you a more healthy meal...

Posted by: Angelina at April 14, 2008 07:57 AM

"many's the time i have been told by a friend that it is a "black thang" lol)specifically as a tool in the same manner it was "wayyy back in the day", to exclude "the man" from a conversation(as soon as you use anything as a tool to exclude another, that's discrimination "cut and dried")"


Ebonics, the black accent, the refusal to pronunciate properly, popular slogans on t-shirts (e.g. "If you see da police, warn-a-brotha")..... all of these are forms of racism, as they all go back to forming a racial identity. "I have to do this because I'm black." If a white person did any of those things, I could tell them that they look, sound, and act like a buffoon. But if I say the same thing to a black person, that's "racist". So the lesson here is that black people should be held to a different set of standards, simply because they're black.

Who's the racist in this situation, again?

As I said before, blacks (not "African-Americans," as that is racist, as well) from the slave days to the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's wanted to be treated the same as whites. They fought to be allowed to go to white schools and get a decent education. They fought to be able to get a good job and earn a decent living. They fought to be treated like human beings.

Nowadays, you seem them increasingly moving in the opposite direction. Blacks have one of the highest dropout rates (if not the highest) of any race in the nation. Blacks want high-paying jobs, but refuse to play by the rules of the corporate world. Blacks (ever-increasingly) act like absolute animals.

If black people truly want to be treated as equals, they need to assimilate into what they erroneously label "white culture," and start acting with a modicum of self respect.

Stop being black.

Be an individual.

As soon as one views themself as "black" or "white," they compartmentalize themselves and are instantly limited and held down.

I'm somewhat surprised that the proponents of ghetto culture have not teamed up with groups like the KKK. After all, their goals are the same - keep blacks out of schools, out of respectable jobs, and seperate from whites in all aspects.

Posted by: Kyle at April 28, 2008 12:59 AM

I can't believe you typed this. I myself am a young BLACK girl and I find this offensive. So what if the person had a "black" accent white people could have grown up down South and have a southern accent, not a black accent. Also you said you saw a regulaar guy standing at the window, does this mean that black people aren't normal. This is the exact opposite of Doctor Kings dream. This is just a shame. I hope you read this a feel really bad. I don't care how you feel about this because you wrote this without caring what you put. But, guess what I care. I hope you know God so you can REPENT.

Posted by: Imani at April 28, 2008 12:26 PM

If they talk like that, yes.

Dr. King didn't.

Take a lesson.

Posted by: Jeff at April 28, 2008 02:20 PM

I'm a teacher. Special Education. In the predominantly African-American suburbs of a big city. I am white. I live in a nearly all-black community. The socio-economic status of the community where I live and teach ranges from wealthy to destitute, highly educated to less than basic high school. I am one of the educated, but not one of the wealthy - I'm a teacher, remember? My students come from two-parent families, single-parent families, virtually parent-less families. Their parents are doctors, judges, media personalities, mechanics, service workers, unemployed, and drug dealers. All of this diversity co-exists with a single common denominator: African-American students' achievement lags behind white students' achievement by a significant amount, and the gap widens as students advance through the grades.

Alarmingly, the gap is greatest in the area of reading. We know how to teach reading, and we know what the strongest indicators of reading competency are for students in the early grades: 1.) being read to as young children, and 2.) PHONICS!!!! We teach the sounds of printed syllables - that's the code of written language. And if the syllables you've been taught to say and understand don't match the code, you're going to struggle just as much as if you are trying to learn a foreign language. As the written language you are confronted with increases in complexity, the difficuty you encounter in developing automaticity starts to hold you back as you struggle to develop both receptive and expressive vocabulary. So by third grade, if you are still trying to remember the basic pronunciation of vowels, consonants, word families, and clusters, your comprehension gap to your standard-English-speaking peers puts you at serious risk for frustration. The frustration eventually leads to alienation toward the educational process, increasing the risk of low-achievement and dropping out.

But, as a white teacher, I am pressured to accept colloquial pronunciations from my black students that I would prefer to correct in all of my students. I'm not talking about vernacular differences (I TURN the lights off, my black students CUT the lights off). I'm talking about the idiosyncratic pronunciation of syllables or sounds of English (th is th, not f at the end of a word or v in the middle). If Johnny goes home and tells his mother "My teacher says I'm supposed to say 'that', not 'dat', or 'ask', not 'ax'", Johnny's mother says "Teacher is right". But if Jonnesha tells her mother the same thing, her mother says "Teacher is white. You should be proud of the way you talk" and complains to the Superintendent. By the time Johnny and Jonnesha get to high school, the achievement gap will be pronounced, and the explanation will be that "white teachers don't care about black children - they keep our children down".

I told my high school students this year that ancestral pride and identity are good things, and I was "down with the cause", but I refuse to be "down" with ignorance, or the emulation of ignorance that passes for cultural identity among the gangsta, hip-hop, thug style wannabees. My African-American colleagues expressed the same message in their own classes. I found myself out of a job, because an all-black school administration and school board felt I "could not relate to my students' culture". Come on, Black people! Most white people, and ALL white teachers who live in the communities in which we work want the same thing - constructive use of our tax-dollars to fund educational institutions that produce competent graduates that enhance the quality of life for ALL of us.

Right now, these high school kids are working in my McDonald's drive-thru. In a few years, they're going to be my doctors, real-estate agents, bankers, mayor, governor. And yes, my nursing-home attendants. I want them educated VERY, VERY WELL.

Black parents: teach your children to speak and understand standard English so I can teach them to READ and WRITE!

Hukt on fonix werks for nobody.

Wow! THis thread has been going on for four years! Wen Jeff first posted it, I'll be he never dreamed that white pundits would be deemed racist for calling the first viable African-American candidate for President of the United States "articulate"!

Posted by: George at June 11, 2008 10:09 AM

Oops - typo in the last paragraph. I meant "when". See what I mean about "fonix"?

Posted by: George at June 11, 2008 10:10 AM

@George: That was a very interesting read. There's a lot in there worth considering. This bit caught me:

==>If Johnny goes home and tells his mother "My teacher says I'm supposed to say 'that', not 'dat', or 'ask', not 'ax'", Johnny's mother says "Teacher is right". But if Jonnesha tells her mother the same thing, her mother says "Teacher is white. You should be proud of the way you talk" and complains to the Superintendent.<==

It's interesting that there are people who want to let their skin color dictate the content of their characters. Isn't that the very definition of racism? After so many decades of being taught to be ashamed of being black skinned, the 'obvious' solution is to turn the tables and learn to be proud of being black skinned. But what's obviously true isn't always actually true. In this case it's just two different sides of the same counterfeit coin.

Posted by: Jeff Healey at June 11, 2008 10:26 PM

Umm. Wow. I am amazed at your attempts to justify your hate speech that you are spewing on this page by saying you are filled with compassion upon hearing other accents or coming up with an arbitrary statistic about the number of people who are misrepresented by what you are calling "black-trash culture". From a linguistic approach, there is no such thing as good or bad language - it serves the purpose of language just as much as the dialect you speak. Your problem is that you don't speak that dialect.

I personally find it disgusting that you are irritated by the fact that there a culture that has been repeatedly raped by the cultural majority manages to find pride in themselves. By saying that this speech irritates you simply because it exists and that the people speaking it aren't trying their hardest to fit into "white" culture, you are identifying yourself just as much as a racist as if you were saying they don't belong there at all.

Posted by: Tony Flesor at July 3, 2008 05:35 PM

Check this out!


Posted by: Doc at July 22, 2008 01:43 PM

Jeff, you are one really interesting guy. You actually remind me of my husband, whom I love, so please don't be offended if I kindly (respectfully) disagree with you.

I understand your frustration with not being able to understand how the man was talking, and you wrote about feeling empathy for him. However, your empathy quickly turned to irritation at the thought that he should learn how to speak better. I used to think the same way you do - I understand pretty well.

I think the one thing you're missing is that you're assuming he's coming from the same place you are - a place of privilege. You may have the luxury of taking night classes - he may not. You may have the brain capacity to understand those night classes - he may not. You may have no lisps or speech impediments - he may not. You may have the money and the time to take private lessons - he may not. You may have the time and money to watch TV and try to mimic the way eloquent people talk. I'm guessing since he's fully grown and working at McDonalds, his options are limited in a way that you and I can never fathom. Who works at McDonalds when they've got the luxuries of time, money, or education? Maybe he's got so many responsibilities to shoulder that he can't even begin to care about his speech. I don't know.

My husband makes that mistake all the time. Like, "Those people from Mexico should just learn English!" And then you actually get to know some Spanish-speaking immigrants, and your judgmental heart turns back to kindness.

You can't look at people like him who obviously have such limited options and say, "This is what I would do - why doesn't he?" I'm guessing you aren't looking for a job at McDonald's right now either... You aren't remotely in his shoes.

I'm not at all trying to attack you - just give you something to mull over. Peace.

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 3, 2008 08:05 PM

@Elizabeth: I'm not convinced that you actually read my post.

"...instead I just see an ordinary human being...who probably just happened to be raised in a trashy area with trashy schools where they put up with trashy speech."

Posted by: Jeff at September 4, 2008 09:43 PM

Jus wanna say that article was disgraceful.

This guy is obviously inferior to black men and takes out his frustations on his little 'internet journal' lol. U Have to pity alot of white males. Because the whole truth is; many of them feel unsure about their male masculinity. They are not 'fully' men if that makes sense. An old friend of mine used to refer to them has 'Butch white women with short hair (long in your case)' lol. I think when they are next to a black male it intensifies their insecurities. Many of them feel that they dont match up. I also think that every white man secretly feels that their white women are attracted to black males and would rather be with them.

This article has nothing to do with Mcdonalds and the quality of their food. But more on the lines on how the writer has used the fast food resturant to humiliate and degrade the black man for his own gratifications.

Its a funny piece of writing because it confirms stereotypes in a sense. It confirms how jealous white males are too black men!

Posted by: tramplikeU at September 17, 2008 05:26 AM

tramplikeU has an interesting theory...
At least he didn't say "white males are jealous of black mens" I wonder if he uses the word breasteses in common speech?

Posted by: Doc at September 18, 2008 06:58 AM

boy i'll tell you.so many of you posters..ghetto a-hoes from the get go.living in complexes wherein people hang out all hours of the night,boomcars back and forth 24/7,chicken bones and other assorted foods strewn about the grassy areas (for people's dogs to choke on),kids running around unsupervised,yada yada yada..you dumbasses don't even accept the fact that you're ghetto trash. bwa'hahahahahaha..i'm sooo glad i don't have to live next door to people like you..living in ghettoville.not all of the posters here fit that description but most.

Posted by: djteel at February 4, 2009 06:45 AM

to the author of this article:you're not racist and i've had the same thing happen to me in fast food lines.let me point something very important here !! many of these posters replying to your article are ghetto trash that are immediately going to call you racist!!you can see which are the ghetto trash by their comments.they consider you racist for merely mentioning this incident.they're attitude is that you're supposed to tolerate people's actions because "we're all different".now isnt that sensible??? NOT!!

i was waited on by a spanish guy in a shell gas station the other night who couldn't even understand that i wanted a 1 liter bottle of coke..he kept pronouncing it as "lighter"..i said "no i want a 1 liter coke(pronounced leeter of course).he just kept staring at me saying "1 lighter"..i finally said 'to hell with it,you win,1 leeter coke"/now see if you complain about this,you're racist.you're suppose to tolerate this and not to be upset that businesses are hiring people like this to deal with the public.if you have a problem with it and say,complain to the restuarant manager,ghetto trash will say you're racist.so as you read through these posts,keep in mind that it's the ghetto trash claiming you're racist.so don't concern yourself what they post.they're uneducated,bias toward being tolerant of everyone ,both friend and criminal,accepting of the run down trashy areas they live in and extremely ignorant!

Posted by: djteel at February 4, 2009 07:04 AM

I read this thinking it would be about McDonalds. When I finished reading, I realized that you are just as prejudice as the next racist man. Whats bad about you though is that you try to sugar coat it. Don't categorize me, or my brother, or any of my black family because you encountered an AFRICAN AMERICAN(not black skinned..my skin is brown) who spoke in ebonics. Actually the way you typed it..it seemed more like an island accent. I am more that blak "trash"(as you put it) culture. Maybe some black people do glorify that "hood" way of life. WHO CARES!..survival? No one should have to change who they are inside to succeed. Become educated..yes..be whiped clean of all identity..no. But you, racist, should change the way you handle things. If you're going to be a racist..don't pass it off as if you were just annoyed that someone is black..

Posted by: Drea at March 9, 2009 07:50 AM

this is english culture at its best that is why english culture rules because it is unwilling to integrate the world must follow the english way or get nuked and starve

Posted by: jjj at July 20, 2009 11:14 AM

Good post. But, don't forget about the 365Black.com website. It's ridiculous and promotes exactly what you talk about.

I think this is one of those things that we're all going to look back on and say "I can't believe they thought like that!"

Doodiepants.com wrote something up about it as well.

Posted by: Doodie at August 27, 2009 06:33 PM

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