How To Be Black

"Why do you talk like that?"

in response to Has Anyone Ever Questioned Your Authentic Blackness

The first time I ever ran into this issue was first grade. At that time, my family lived in a poorer part of the city and I went to a majority Black school. I often had exchanges like this:

"Why do you talk like that?"

"Like what?"



"Are you mixed?"

Being a little kid, I didn’t really see how those two questions related, but needless to say, they were always paired together.   It was if the only way to explain why I talked “proper” was for me to be of some other race.

In high school, it wasn’t so subtle. I went to a school in the suburbs where almost everyone was White, Christian, and middle class. I once had a classmate (he was White) question me about my taste in music. After saying I didn’t listen to a lot of rap, he replied, “Are you really Black? You don’t talk Black. You don’t listen to rap. I don’t think you’re Black.”

Y’know, because my race is defined by only those things. I’m only glad I never thought to change myself into something I wasn’t.

A few weeks ago I did this amazing show in LA and this amazing sketch artists made these amazing sketches and here they are!


Sketches from Put Your Hands Together live at UCB, 4-9-13.  Cameron Esposito, Erin Foley, Tom Wilson, Myq Kaplan, Prescott Tolk, Liam McEneaney, and Baratunde Thurston.

Subscribe to the podcast to hear this episode.

Guess what??  I get a special shout-out in this ep! (The 4-11-13 Episode, about 42 minutes in from my pal Myq, and 43 minutes in from Cameron!)