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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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