identity

3:12pm

Wed March 4, 2015
FSFSF March 4, 2015

FSFSF: Kevin Avery's "black white guy" voice

Kevin Avery


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5:59pm

Tue January 27, 2015
Politics

The problem with "sounding white"

Alyssa Kapnik Portraiture

 


We are always adjusting the way we sound. It especially depends on the social situation we are in. Linguists call it "code switching," a term originally used for people who would switch between two different languages like Spanish and English. But the term has evolved to embrace the tone, accents, and inflections that we use when talking to people. Many of us do it.

Growing up, I heard plenty of jokes about the way I spoke. But I couldn't help the way I sounded. It’s a default voice, just how I speak. You see where I grew up, in Las Vegas, there were two types of black kids in school: those who hung out only with other black kids and those who bounced back and forth between black and non-black friends. I was in the second group. With all of that switching back and forth, my voice switched too. And it still does. For example, when I’m on the phone with my sister, the “sistah” comes out. It's not something I’m always conscious of. Sometimes it just sort of happens.

Now as an adult I have fun with it, but as a kid it wasn’t always this way. Finding my voice was just painful. At school, being told I “sounded white” meant only one thing. I wouldn’t be eating my corndog and tater tots at the black kids’ lunch table.

But that was then. Nowadays, in some schools, corn dogs and tater tots have been replaced with tofu dogs and green salad. It got me wondering if the conversation among teens may have changed too. So, I went to a place where I thought I might find some black teens who’ve been accused of “talking white”: the skate park.

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4:54pm

Tue January 27, 2015
Arts & Culture

Staying in the Gray

Hannah Young giving her boifriend Clem Breslin a smooch.

 


Many spaces are designated for either men or women: bathrooms, clothing stores, hair salons. But some people don’t subscribe to being a man or a woman. This is true for Clem Breslin, who identifies as being genderqueer. 

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5:30pm

Wed February 6, 2013
Arts & Culture

Commentary: Washington High School students on being "American"

Students at Washington High School in San Francisco’s outer Richmond neighborhood were recently asked to respond to the question: what was a time your identity mattered? KALW producers went out to Washington to hear their answers.

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12:00am

Thu September 27, 2012
Arts & Culture

Today on Your Call: How do we reconcile our inner lives with our religious and cultural identities?

On today's Your Call, we’ll speak with the authors of Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women.  25 women share their stories of reconciling who they are with where they have come from.  One writes “I fear being forced to choose between two integral components of my identity: my faith and my sexuality.”  Join us at 10am PST or post a comment here.  What are your stories of self-discovery in the conte

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