Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Accents, Class, and White Singers Black Folks Thought Were Black

People's class assumptions often have more to do with accent than skin color; there were hotels and restaurants in the segregated South that would not serve African-Americans, but they would serve Africans. I remembered that when I stumbled on this, and realized accent and vocal style affects people's assumptions about race, too: 10 White Singers We Once Thought Were Black | Madame Noire.


  1. OK, I'm totally out of it. I've only heard of about 2 of those people. Also, today when the Beastie Boys were named to the R&R Hall of Fame was the first time I learned they weren't black.

  2. I'm prob'ly the same on recognizing folks, but I get to go "Neener, neener!" on the Beastie Boys. Though I can't remember why I knew they were white. MTV videos, maybe?

  3. I knew four of them... and had never made the presumption that they were black. Maybe because I came from a family involved in radio, and knew from childhood that the voice and the face need not match.

    But isn't it also racism to presume that anyone who sings with emotion and feeling- "soul"- must be black? That white artists are mere vocal technicians?