“You’re Too White” – WTF Does That Even Mean???

Hello and welcome back to my blog.

If you’re new here, nice to meet you. I’m Weird & Liberated and this is my corner of the internet where I babble on about all sorts of things.

My fellow black brothers and sisters, have you ever been told you’re “too white”?

I don’t know how many times that particular statement has been directed towards me (by my friends even).

I’ve come to realise that my so-called “whiteness” is based on how I speak, behave and conduct myself (oh and my “white accent”). It’s largely because of the fact that I attended predominantly English speaking schools my entire school career.

We are bi-products of our environments. What do people expect? lol

To add to my so-called “whiteness” is the fact that I don’t speak enough vernac according to my peers; which is horseshit. I’ve been asked by co-workers why I speak so much English, to which I responded that I just do.

I mean, I don’t consciously decide before I open my mouth which language I am going to converse in, I just speak and whatever some out, comes out.

Oh, I’ve even been asked if I think in English and yes, yes I do!

I am 100% black (but to some not black enough because of the way I am). Yes, I may speak fluent English with an English accent but as I said, that’s a result of my schooling. The only reason I speak the way I do is that the person (or people) who taught me English was white… I have never been to a school that wasn’t predominantly white.

The fact that I, as a black person, do not practice any cultural things is yet another example of why people tell me I’m too white. My family has never, to my knowledge done, any traditional ceremony (the only traditional practice I can think of that we partake in is lobola). Your girl doesn’t even know the first thing about traditional practices aside from what I’ve seen from a distance and heard.

Not going to lie, it does worry me at times when I think about what would happen if I married a black South African man, traditions and all. I cannot even cook a single traditional meal. I don’t know how the fuck you cook things like ulusu (tripe) but my whole thing in life when it comes to cooking is learning by process of trial and error…

Unfortunately for me, I have never even been invited to any traditional celebrations. Oh wait, there was that one time a few years when I attended a traditional wedding; which was nice and different and a great experience but that’s about it.

I didn’t even own traditional attire. We had to go and purchase it and I have never worn it since.

Our parents never raised us in a particularly “non-black’ way, they just let us be, for the most part, and went with that.

We were never exposed to traditional ceremonies because my parents never did any in my entire 30 years of existence. They don’t practise such.

For a long time when I was younger, I was envious of my peers because I felt like there was this whole world of culture that I was missing out on. Now I feel indifferent about it. I know my family history, where I come from and who I am and that’s enough for me.

In high school, a conscious decision was made to start hanging out with my black friends more because I started feeling “some typa way” about being called a “coconut”. You know… black on the outside, white on the inside?

I wasn’t black enough for some of the other black kids at school.

I remember when a guy, who’s now my close friend, would speak to me in Xhosa during Life Sciences and I’d be like, “what does that word mean?”. He would explain eventually after teasing me about being so “coconutty”.

I learnt quite a few deep Xhosa words from him.

That term “coconut” doesn’t offend me now, I feel indifferent and I think it’s weird that people call me that.

The evidence that people produce of my “whiteness” is my “white-accent” when speaking English, my taste in music; which really is a matter of exposure and preference (I listen to the likes of Miley Cyrus for example).

I do speak isiXhosa but I just don’t have a proper Xhosa accent, if you get what I mean.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this. I don’t give a shit about my so-called whiteness. I’m just out here doing me and tryna live my best life.

The other day, I was having a conversation with my sister about how, as black people, we have the tendency to laugh at fellow black people who speak “broken English”.

Pretty fucked up if you think about it…

English is not even our home language, so we really don’t owe it to anyone to speak fluent English. Do other races do this? We need to stop doing that shit!

Do other races laugh at their fellow racemates for not being able to speak a language that’s not even theirs? I’m curious…

As for being “too white”, well that’s a matter of opinion because I’m just me.

We are more than our skin colours and spoken languages. Just let people be who they are man…

A true-crime-obsessed, quirky lifestyle blogger from the coastal city of East London, South Africa whose interests include reading, writing and fitness. Find me on Twitter @WeirdnLiberated.
Posts created 252

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  98. Oh, this is still the bane of my existence! Being called a coconut made me incredibly self conscious around other black people, even when I had enough in common to have a friendship. Now I just live as myself and hope for the best

  99. I think people sometimes have an idea in their head about what you’re “supposed” to act/talk/think like based on how you look so if you stray from that at all they’ll immediately make a scene about it. Thanks for sharing this piece.

  100. Yeah I think a lot of this stems from people associating the English language with ‘white’ .. as well as the stereotypes associated with people who are not ‘white’ such as not speaking English well, speaking another language, being from another country..
    it’s awful that we still think that way. I am biracial — and I have gotten that a lot. as you say very eloquently, we should just be people instead of being expected to fit a category simply based on appearance.

  101. I get the message though, example people who stayed a long time in the rural areas also judge those who grew up in the cities in a similar manner.

    1. I am not saying that one shouldn’t know about their African side, their roots. I’m saying people are multi-faceted.

      You need to know your past to understand who you are and where you come from, yes. BUT people are made up of multiple things -their thoughts, feelings, experiences etc, shape them into the people they are.

      I struggled with not being “black enough” growing up and it hurt me. I had a bit of an identity crisis … It’s like I didn’t do enough “black” things and it was for silly things like my music taste. It was ” too white”.

      I am not and never will be “black enough” for some people and it’s okay with me because I’m WAY more than that!

      I know who I am and I’m just being myself. That’s what matters.

  102. I see, if you’re saying it’s not important to you to know more about your African side then fine, that’s your choice.

  103. I don’t believe you should relax with the little you know about yourself and where you come from. Do your own research, find former banned literature, question elders etc. so at least you know more.

    1. I hear you. If something is important to you then obviously, you’ll look further into it.

      I’m just saying that for me personally, I’m okay with it. It’s not that I don’t know my family history…

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