Fuck internalized racism.
It turns us into monsters.
Today in class the professor had us partner up with someone else and discuss an issue with each other. One person would write and the other would read it out loud to the class.
A very quiet Iraqi lady came up to me and asked to be my partner. I am normally a very talkative student so I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to lay low and let someone else take the stage. I asked her if she would like to be the presenter and she said, “I can’t. I have an accent and no one can understand what I am saying.” So I said, “I can understand you.” She said, “Thanks but my children make fun of me. They say ‘mom be quiet, no one can even understand what you’re saying’.”
This made me realize what a shitty human being I am because I used to say the exact same thing to my parents back when I tried to hard to please my racist classmates and before I realized how amazing it was that my parents were fluent in more languages than most of them would learn in their entire lifetime.
The fact is, people with thick non-anglo accents are perfectly aware of how the world sees them. That’s why my classmate, a brilliant woman, hasn’t said a single word out loud in class. That’s why my aunt, tired of being mocked for her accent, asks my sister to make all her important phone calls for her. That’s why sometimes even I use smaller words when I am talking because I can’t pronounce all the words I can write.
McGill University recently fired a professor because he had an accent. One of my other classmates, who is fluent in English, is fighting for his right to not be forced to write the TOEFL, which is usually waived for students with his educational background. And finally, last but not least, I know my accent is the biggest reason why I walked out of the American embassy in Saudi Arabia with a visa stamped on my passport moments after I arrived while all the other applicants were thoroughly questioned and, in some cases, rejected.
Dear POCs, fucking stop making fun of other people’s accents. They already have a hard enough time dealing with a system that marginalizes them. Fight for them, not with them. Always remember, you are not superior to other people just because you speak the language of your colonizers fluently.