On Being Told I Don T Speak Like A Black Person Analysis

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The poem titled “On Being Told I Don’t Speak Like a Black Person” by Allison Joseph explains the reason why the poet does not speak like a black person. In this poem, Allison Joseph is speaking about the judgment she experienced growing up. Allison expresses frustration for receiving criticism on how she speaks throughout the poem; Joseph states, “ Was I suppose to sound lazy,/ dropping syllables here and there/… Were certain words off limits,/ too erudite for someone whose skin/ came with a natural tan?” (ln, 34-42). Allison is angry that people are surprised by the way she properly speaks, all because she has black skin. The beginning of the poem shows the author reflecting on experiences she encountered; then she transitions to her thoughts and feeling about speech in general. In the beginning of the poem Joseph compares her …show more content…

The author uses descriptions like “in that Jamaican schoolroom” (ln 5). This allows the reader to picture the setting that Allison’s mother was being taught in. The author uses the words. “ dark, sun-ripened skin” (ln. 11), to describe the color of her mothers and the other school children’s skin color. The author uses these words to get the point across that these black Jamaican children were being taught by white British teachers. In the poem the author shows how she has been criticized throughout her life on why she does not sound like a black person. First, the speaker states, “ Mother never lost her accent./ though, the music of her voice/ charming everyone, an infectious lilt/ I can imitate, not duplicate” (ln. 12-15). However, Allison did not sound exactly like her mom; she did not really sound like anyone else. Then the author states, “…I didn’t sound/like anyone or anything,/ no granting New Yorker nasality,/ no fastidious British mannerisms/… And I didn’t sound/ like a Black American” (ln.

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