PostRacialist, The Snob

Actual Conversation From The Snob Household: Is That A Negro?

Sunday, Morning. Family Breakfast with Face the Nation

Papa Snob: Danielle! Is that man a black?

The Snob: Who?

Papa Snob: The brother that’s talking on the TV right now. He looks white but he sounds black. I thought he was white at first but he keeps saying things like the way he says “right now” or other stuff that makes him sound like a Negro.

The Snob: What’s his name?

Papa Snob: Arne Duncan.

The Snob: I’ll look it up!

To the internet! One wikipedia check later!

The Snob: It says, “Duncan’s spoken accent at this time led at least one college basketball coach to assume that he was of African-American descent.” So he’s white, he just grew up around a lot of black folks.

Papa Snob: Are you sure?

The Snob: It says his mother ran an afterschool program on the South side of Chicago for African American kids

Papa Snob: (Impressed) So his mother didn’t run away from Negroes? Uh huh. Are you sure somebody’s not … you know?

Mama Snob: What’s that supposed to mean?

Papa Snob: Nothing dear!


24 thoughts on “Actual Conversation From The Snob Household: Is That A Negro?

  1. swiv says:

    funniest thing i saw yesterday was the QB for Ole Miss is named Jevan, his father is named Jaylon, and they’re both country white people.

  2. Jaddadalos says:

    Ugh. I shudder at the thought… For all the trouble Arne Duncan has caused in the Chicago Public Schools, I hope folk don’t assume he’s not a foe because of some "Negro tendencies"…His mother might have run an after-school program for Black children and Obama may love playing b-ball with him, but he is not an educator and the direction the Department of Education is taking is still a mess.There are lots of articles analyzing his policies. I’m pasting the link below for the most recent on I’ve read

  3. malted_tea says:

    W…T…F? What exactly was "Black" about his speech? His enunciation? The moment when he said "Oh NO, Sir" or…something else? Why do we strive to box ourselves in? Furthermore, why allow a Wikipedia reference to his "suspect" heritage to remain?Oh my precious sweet peas, this bothers my brain. Living in Canada, this type of conversation shades my perceptions of Americans. Of course, when I go down to meet you in SC, FL, VA, CA, NY, etc…you all act fairly normal and extremely polite in person. The effects of your history pervade in (hmm, parade around?) every pore and it’s something that I as a Canadian and my partner who hails from West Africa fail to understand.

  4. the postmodernist says:

    What is "fairly normal" to you? You speak of cultural boxes, but when you write about your experiences with African-American, you lead one to believe that 1) acting outside of your cultural perceptions and expectations isn’t "normal," and 2) you had expectations that we would fail to meet your standards.Just saying…

  5. Geneva Girl says:

    Yep, we play that game in our house a lot, "Is he black?" Or, as my husband would say, "Is he a weed dropper?" There are a few things he said that made him sound black, an educated black man.

  6. Interesting. I had my husband aka the resident white guy listen to this without looking at the video and he thought he was Black. As someone though who is from Chicago, I knew a lot of white guys like Duncan who were raised on the southside like Duncan who also had a cadence that sounded Black. I don’t know, I’m on the fence.

  7. Mac says:

    @ malted_tea — It’s just an accent. And yes, there is indeed one. It’s not a denunciation to say somebody has one. Nor is it a box. It’s nothing but an accent. — don’t let it trouble your head. If you can’t hear what’s "black" about his speech, it might just be the same way we Yankees have trouble telling an Albertan from a Saskatchewan…ese?

  8. BluTopaz says:

    It’s not just the accent but also the timbre of Duncan’s voice. Black people often have deeper voices than White people; Duncan’s voice reminds me of that.

  9. OMG Danielle, I saw him yesterday and wondered what was up too! Lol I swear he had me going for a sec. I thought he might have had the incognegro thing going on.

  10. Monie says:

    @malted_tea "…when I go down to meet you in SC, FL, VA, CA, NY, etc…you all act fairly normal and extremely polite in person…"You know, you write like a White person.

  11. Scipio Africanus says:

    My mother swears up and down that Ernie Johnson, of NBA on TNT fame, is a Proctor (a Proctor is someone who looks truly, truly white – not just really light – but actually and factually looks like a white person, but is really a negro.)

  12. sandy says:

    @malted tea I think you as a black canadian could be jealous because blacks are kind of invsible in Canada.(not 100 % but kind of…………..The asians are represented as the minority as news casters and other areas where there needs to be "diversity"especially in Ontario especailly Toronto look at all the dark east ndians and also somewhat in Montreal The other areas of Canada forget about it girl. we are facinated with race and who looks like what because that is our history as black americansdo yourself a favor and read more on what black americans have lived through being black in americaread how many blacks have passed for white over the years before you criticize a discussion question.

  13. sandy says:

    sorry for the spelling areas I get hot when blacks from other countries look down on usthey too are obsessed with black americans and our culture

  14. malted_tea says:

    Postmodernist, I was being wry but in truth "fairly normal" conversation would not, in my wee world up North, include conversing about someone’s race. No not even MJ 🙂 And do I look down on Americans in general or is it rather that the educated Black Americans I come across in person and online tend to have a way of self-identifying that is hard for others in the diaspora to understand or otherwise empathize with? I contend that it’s the later what with sandy’s observation of my apparently limited knowledge of American history. Err, you do know that we have shared history, right? All the books you have, we have. All the families you have, we have. Furthermore, Canadians are just as familiar with issues like the whitewashing of Black families. And why is no one wondering about the Wikipedia reference?!In any case, I appreciate Danielle who brought up a fascinating topic that I’ve often seen recur. I took the opportunity to voice my opinion and thank everyone for sharing theirs too!

  15. LaJane Galt says:

    malted-tea, you go from: "Why do we strive to box ourselves in? " to when I go down to meet you in SC, FL, VA, CA, NY, etc…you all act fairly normal and extremely polite in person. pronouns aside, this makes no it rather that the educated Black Americans I come across in person and online tend to have a way of self-identifying that is hard for others in the diaspora to understand or otherwise empathize with? You don’t want to understand or empathize. You just want to get in your little digs at American Blacks, to witThe effects of your history pervade in (hmm, parade around?) every pore and it’s something that I as a Canadian and my partner who hails from West Africa fail to understand.Of course we have ways of self-identifying that outsiders won’t get. Who doesn’t?For example, you people (1) are partial to sewing flags on your backpacks and (2) are typically characterized by comments that not so subtly ooze contempt for American Blacks while shamelessly enjoying the freedom to move about our country that we fought hard to obtain.How’s that for wry 😉

  16. storm says:

    Eh, I didn’t hear any "black" sounding speech. I was fully expectiong to after reading the post and some of the comments, however. Now, have heard some very "black" sounding white folks — and asian folks. This guy, IMO, is not one of them.

  17. sandy says:

    I second what La Jane Galt says Malted_ tea you do sound condescending to black americans on this post and everywhere else yes we do have a shared history so why act like you are on a higher level than black americans.By the way what carribbean island or african country did you have to immigrate to canada from in order to start a better life because your home country was having shall we say "issues"?Canada has done just as much or more dirt to blacks and people of color as what has been done and still is being done in the USAInstead of acting like you are on a higher level be more humble you never know when a black american will be in a position to help you.

  18. Dawn says:

    Malted Tea, You make a great point somewhere between the insults and condescension. People outside of the states really can't relate to Americans' approach to race and ethnicity. I've spent a great deal of time outside of the U.S., and it kills me every time a non-American says something like "slavery ended over a century ago… you guys are still on that?" It's funny to me because I see both sides: Americans (black and white) are completely race obsessed. We're completely manic about who belongs to which group. We've internalized all of these unspoken indicators of blackness, whiteness, and somewhere-in-betweenness. As crazy as "our way" is, it has it's merits … like the 14th amendment, various other legal civil rights protections, and a code of political correctness that fills in the gaps the law can't quite reach. You only get protections like that when race is at the forefront of the discussion, and in many other countries I've lived in, race, and all of the complications and inequities that come along with it, are swept under the rug. I never really considered myself an American until I lived abroad and saw the heinous treatment that blacks received in other countries. I used to joke that I would move to Canada or France if so and so won an election, but after seeing how other countries treat racial minorities, you couldn't pay me to give up my US citizenship. Black Americans (slowly but surely) make more headway with each decade BECAUSE we talk about it… because we feel the need to analyze every nuance (down to the way this Duncan guy pronounces his prepositions) regarding race and race relations. All that being said, of course you don't get it. You probably won't get a black prime minister anytime soon either.

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