Are Accents More Important Than Race in How We Interact?

03/08/2010 3:51 PM |

thug life

  • Gangsta 4-Ever

A new study reveals that kids are more likely to choose friends based on having similar accents than similar skin color. This makes perfect intuitive sense to me, when one considers the overwhelming influence of cultural signifiers in how we interact with others (i.e. I’m way more likely to talk the black dude reading Susan Sontag on the bus than the white dude thugged out in a track suit and fitted cap; I would submit that race really is a marginal factor when making snap judgments—not that I ever talk to anyone on the bus.)

Scientists, who are paid to theorize, think the study highlights the idea of race as a relatively new construct, and that being wary of the Other through language patterns is far more deeply embedded in our behavior than a fear of skin color. I tend to see this primarily as a question of class identification, as accent and speech are a gut way of judging education levels (particularly in Britain), and remain the primary guides for class prejudice.

Of course, the famously neutral southern Ontario accent has allowed me and my kind to blend into your society, read your news, and steal your children. (And you’ll never know when we’re about to rise up and strike.)

One Comment

  • Just try stealing my Swedish-American children. with or without Philadelphia-Stockholmian undertones. yeah!thanks Brian.(teresa)