A couple of months ago I talked about a theory suggesting that African American youth equate academic success with “acting white”
Now, we’ve all heard the term “acting white” tossed around in our community, and may even remember when a younger Chris Rock took Bryant Gumbel to task for allegedly acting ‘too white” or when Eddie Murphy literally turned white in a famous Saturday Night Live skit and got crazy hookups!
Well there’s a fascinating new book out by law professor Devon Carbado that offers a fresh perspective on this theory, arguing that ‘acting white’ is more than just skin deep.
In Acting White?: Rethinking Race in “Post-Racial” America, Carbado contends that racial judgments are not just based on skin color, but on how a person conforms to behaviors or stereotypes associated with a certain race.
In other words, they’re based on how people of any color “perform” their race as suggested by their clothing; their hairstyle; their acquaintances; the organizations they join; their racial politics; where they live, or how they speak and walk.
One example would be how some African Americans have an ‘in the community’ demeanor and a ‘at the workplace’ demeanor.
For black men in particular―because of the fear people in our society so often have of them―their ‘at the workplace’ demeanor, in many instances, is designed to be non-threatening, mild or ‘approachable’.
But don’t get it twisted folks. In most cases, this is not a sign of weakness on the brothers’ part but rather a sign of cultural fluency, meaning they’re playing the game enough to pay their bills.
And most are strong enough to know that adopting that workplace demeanor does not define them… Another more common example for African Americans is how we often shift our speech patterns say for a job interview.
The point, for Carbado, is not to push some notion of racial authenticity but to acknowledge “acting” is something many people commonly do, whether its acting white, acting black, or even “acting male,”.
But while Carbado contends that this process goes deeper than skin color, he also acknowledges the socially imposed pressures on African Americans in particular to act in certain ways in order to more smoothly navigate both their professional and personal landscapes.
Again the name of the book is Acting White?: Rethinking Race in “Post-Racial” America, you should definitely get a copy and I’d like to hear from you do you feel any pressure to act in certain ways in certain environments.
I’ll close with these words from Carbado himself:
“We judge African Americans based not only on whether we perceive them to be black, but also on how black we perceive them to be.”
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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