Good Example Of Acting “White” Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: White, People, Education, Community, Speaking, Dressing, Clothes, Students

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/08

For years, there have been cases of minority students and people in schools who were judged for being a lot of things but the biggest overall is being different which can cause a social upheaval in social groups. There are some minorities who have feared the consequences of being different along with what that would do to them from both a home and school life perspective, among several of those things is the lack of respect that they know awaits them for not being a traditional minority which could range anywhere from pants down around their ankles to talking slang. Or if they are middle-eastern then they are expected to act and carry themselves a different way including their dress code which is strict, there are prices to pay for being different or being different from those who are race associated. However, there is one thing that minority students and people catch a lot of heat for, acting “white”. Examination of this issue has revealed that acting “white” is a label that is pinned on a minority (African American) student or person for doing things that Caucasian people would do such as speaking with dictionary words such as ultimately, ironically and saying things like “you just used an oxymoron”. Another aspect of acting “white” is when a black person is answering questions in class correctly or is studying, caring about their education as a whole. Acting “white” has been the label that many a black person has been forced to wear because they are not acting the way they are supposed to, they are saying things differently, answering intelligently. Society has had a very low expectation for blacks getting an education let alone blacks being educated, it is like a total shock when a black person can tell a white person what an oxymoron is and use it in a sentence to clarify what they mean. In the present day, some minorities are still getting all kinds of funny looks when they tell people that they graduated from a big name university with higher than a 3.6 GPA; this would easily brand the black person as acting “white” because that is something that is expected of a white person would do. Acting “white” has many forms as this paper will discuss.
As previously mentioned, acting “white” comes in many forms and one of those forms is intelligent speech or speaking properly. Speaking properly constitutes using words or big words out of the dictionary and using them in a complete sentence or in a conversation. As most minorities well know, that this is one of the first signs of acting “white” because they are using words that is making people and other black people think or think about what was just said. According to McWhorter (2014), “speaking properly hardly constitutes acting or being “white”, white people are not the only ones capable of being intelligent” (McWhorter, 2014). It is a known fact that black people who have practiced speaking properly and educated have faced a lot of isolation and degenerative remarks from other within their race because they are not acting down, talking slang like “what up negro”, or what up my brother. Speaking properly has been seen and viewed by uneducated black people as talking “white” and being accused of being white as well as being ashamed of their black heritage or being black. It can be argued that if a black person says one intelligent word, they are automatically branded as acting “white” because white people are expected to be intelligent and use big words as was it seen through the eyes of a black person’s ancestors. Make no mistake, because a black person says a sentence like “the tune associated with that broken flute is a cacophony, that person cannot be allowed to play in the music festival; a low score and shame will befall us all”. Right then, that black person got all kinds of funny stares and looks from people. Speaking properly has come under fire from certain people in the black community because other blacks been taught that acting outside of your race brings embarrassment and shame to their race, the concept of this was common during the late 1980s to late 1990s. Speaking properly such as using words out of the dictionary or using complicated words has been classified with acting “white”, this negative stereotype has caused many an African American to distance themselves from other blacks which is just.
As everyone in the black community was warned about in the 1970s and 80s, education was important to everyone’s future, what they learn today will teach their descendants in the future which everyone benefits from. This brings up acting “white” concept number 2, caring about and excelling in school and education. Caring about education is what aspired some of the greatest minds in existence to greatest, there are some blacks who seek to aspire to the ranks of the greats and caring about their education is the ONLY way that they can get to that point. However, when a black person cares about excelling in school, they are viewed as acting “white” because white people were the only ones that cared about getting any education at all. It can be argued that a black person is trademarked as acting “white” when they have a class or two that they love being and participating in, this has been known to cause a lot of black people in certain classes to feel disrespected as well as put in a category because they are in classes they enjoy. As previously stated, blacks have low expectations when it comes to education which can be said is the reason why so many are so narrow-minded about another black person being and speaking from an educated perspective. According to Fryer (2006), “education should be the central focus of very girl and boy, there is no such thing as acting “white” when that boy or girl in the black community cares that they got a B- on a spelling test instead of that A+ they were expecting” (Fryer, 54, 2006). Ironically, people in the black and white community even those in other racial communities have been taught by their ancestors that caring about education puts one on the path to greatness yet many of those same people within those same communities choose to blindly follow their uneducated ancestors. Excelling in school and caring about education has caused a few blacks over the ages to question who they are even feel ashamed about who they are because they are being harassed about their excelling in school, there are more than a few blacks who have conquered this but it is technically still an ongoing thing with other black people.
It can be asked, what constitutes as acting “white”, how does one person act a different race outside of their own; the answer, because anything seen as outside the norm is quoted as strange or acting “white”. The final thing that has gotten a lot of black people to suffer from a lot of bad press such as the negative stereotype of acting “white” is dressing a certain way or sporting a far different dress code than everyone else in the black community. Dressing a certain way would qualify as a black guy who has on a suit or nice dress clothes like they are dressed for a job interview instead of being dressed in $100.00 Jordans, $80.00 outfits that consist of a Roca wear shirt, black south pants and a buckle belt with something ungrammatically insignificant on it. Case in point, Kendrick is a 14-year-old African American boy who did not fit in much with the black community and he always aspired to separate himself from the black community. Kendrick sees all of the other black boys his age walking around with expensive clothes and is often teased because he wants to dress differently, Kendrick has even been branded as acting “white” because of the way he dresses. However, Kendrick never allowed that to make him a stereotype because his father taught him that being different is what makes a person great not doing what everyone else is doing. A black person’s dress code can hardly be classified as acting “white” because dressing for success should be everyone’s goal, it is a known fact that dressing like a gangster or a hood got anyone a job except working in a factory. It is also a known fact that dressing for an interview for a job can hardly be called acting “white”, a black person who wants more for themselves is hardly acting “white”. Dressing a certain way should not make the black person come of acting “white” or acting like they are better than everyone else in the black community yet it does often times, African American people are known for a lot of things but dressing to impress has never been one of them. It can be said that a black person who dresses a certain way want more for themselves instead of being portrayed as an ignorant stereotype.


Fryer, R. (2006). Acting White. Education Next, 1(6), 54-54.
McWhorter, J. (2014, October 8). 'Acting White' Remains a Barrier for Black Education. Retrieved April 9, 2015, from

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