Mocking “Foreign Accents” and the Privilege of “Sounding White”

Muslim Reverie

I’ve been giving this topic a lot of thought for a while, not only because of the observations I’ve made from white and people of color friends and allies, but also because I, too, have been guilty in mocking the “accented” English of people in my community and other communities of color. The imitation and mockery of these “accents” are sometimes conducted for seemingly “harmless” comedic purposes, but the reality is, those of us who speak the colonizer’s language in any form of what is commonly defined as a “Standard English” accent tend to overlook our privilege and complicity in attributing harmful stereotypes to people of color. The mockery inadvertently perpetuates the racialized narrative of “modern” versus “pre-modern.”

Being raised in the United States and attending a predominately white public school was never devoid of racism, but it is important to note how my white friends, classmates, and teachers would…

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