WHY DO WE LOWER OUR VOICES WHEN WE SAY "WHITE PEOPLE"
A few weeks ago, I was in the city with two friends just chatting, while we decided on our next stop. We ended up standing near a bus stop, full of all types of people. White, black,latino, asian, you name it. So kee kee-ing it up as girls do, we talked about a gamut of things, including race. The conversation wasn’t too serious though, but the words “white people” came out of our mouths several times.
Every time the words “white people” came up, we would lower our voices severely. It wasn’t that we were scared, nervous, uncomfortable, or speaking negatively regarding them, it was simply a habit. A habit that we realized originated from wanting to avoiding drama, politeness, and strange stares. It’s not that we were saying anything negative or hostile about “white people” it was just that we wanted to refer to people of the white race without skirting around the word “white” to appease others feelings and assumptions, especially since the content had no feelings to evoke.
Being black, and knowing that racism is still a big issue worldwide, speaking about race, even in the simplest, uncontroversial, ways, evokes unnecessary reactions from people most of the time. Whispering, “white people” is just smarter, at least right now, in this day and age.