Why do some African Americans feel the need to assimilate around different races?


There is a sense that certain African Americans feel the need to assimilate themselves around different races by changing their voice, using different demeanors, and using a different vernacular that they commonly don’t use. The need to do these things can derive from many factors. One such factor can be that blacks do not feel like they are on the same level of certain races and need to conform themselves to fit a certain standard. One of the biggest examples to prove that theorem is how wealthy blacks conduct themselves once they reach a certain plateau of wealth. Bourgeoisie blacks look down on middle class and poor blacks but praise other races despite what their economic level is. Another factor to why blacks change the way they communicate around certain races is the misconception that speaking in “Ebonics” is looked upon as undesirable. The truth of the matter is that if an individual is looking for employment or some other important matter, they must cater to the person who they are contacting, which in most cases is not of African descent.

According to www.psychologytoday.com, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a black accent, except that in a society where any race other than black is seen as great is the norm, a black accent is judged as less desirable. Making a call without your “assimilated voice” could mean the loss of a job, an apartment, or any number of opportunities. As a matter of survival, upwardly mobile blacks learn to effortlessly code switch, which is the unconscious modifying of speech to slip from one culture to another. Many of us reserve speech with ethnic markers for conversations with other people of our ethnicity.”

Blacks also use the changing of their true selves around other races as an advantage to get into a more powerful position or gain favor with races whom they deem to be elite. Blacks must maneuver differently to advance to major areas in whatever field they are pursuing because the gatekeepers of most Fortune 500 companies and organizations are of races other than black. African Americans must conform to make the individual in power feel comfortable enough to hire them or promote them to a position of power in a company. Blacks can’t afford to be their true selves in professional arenas because people of power might not find their character fitting for business purposes.

According to www.theatlantic.com, “In particular, black professionals had to be very careful to show feelings of conviviality and pleasantness, even—especially—in response to racial issues. They felt that emotions of anger, frustration, and annoyance were discouraged, even when they worked in settings where these emotions were generally welcomed in certain contexts—think litigators interacting with opposing counsel, or financial analysts responding to a stressful day on Wall Street. Interestingly, this often played out at trainings meant to encourage racial sensitivity. Many of the black professionals interviewed found that diversity training—intended to improve the work environment for minorities—actually became a source of emotional stress, as they perceived that their colleagues could use these trainings to express negative emotions about people of color, but that they were expected not to disclose their own honest emotional reactions to such statements.”