Society

Accentism

I haven’t seen this discussed before, but it’s been an issue I’ve dealt with all my life and an issue I’ve seen discussed concerning politics lately.

People get judged based on their accents and I think it’s absurd. A European accent connotes intelligence and poise (regardless whether it is a native accent or not), while Asian or Mexican accents somehow makes a person less intelligent and personable. A small Southern accent is classy, a strong Southern accent means you’re stupid. Even Michelle Obama spoke about how she was made fun of because she spoke like a white girl (and Aisha Tyler has a funny video mentioning this at Funny or Die). It happens in all ways, and I think it’s absurd.

People using President George W. Bush’s accent and pronunciations as a valid criticism is one of my pet peeves. Maybe it’s annoying to some people (which I find to be discriminatory), but it’s a weak measure of his intelligence. It’s a condescending way to judge someone. It is not based on much fact other than a prejudice against a strong southern accent (whose authenticity could be questioned since he grew up in New England). There are so many other ways to criticize the President that using that as one is cheap and rude. President Clinton has a Southern accent and I haven’t heard a liberal (or conservative, but I haven’t looked) use that as a hindrance to his performance. I don’t consider it a “breath of fresh air” to now have a president without a strong accent.

My friend reached my dad once instead of me and told me he recieved a man who “couldn’t speak english”. It was insulting to hear such things. My parents might have Vietnamese accents, but they’re fully functional, intelligent people who can speak two languages fluently, more than my friend can say.

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