Newsflash, Americans: Everyone Has an Accent, Including You

The truth is we all sound ‘funny’ to someone

Portia B
LEVEL

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An illustration of a black person surrounded by text bubbles.
Illustration: Fabiola Lara

OnOn my way to a paid gig, my Lyft driver bombarded me with an unsolicited conversation about himself and the weather. I noticed that he spoke with a delayed tone, going out of his way to over-enunciate his words. He assumed that because I didn’t have an American accent that I must be visiting from somewhere else and didn’t speak English. “You see, here in Los Angeles,” he started, despite the fact that English is my first language and I’ve lived in the United States for a decade.

“So, you have an accent. Where are you from?” he asked, screwing up his face. When I said it was none of his business, his tone switched. He got disgusted and immediately kicked me out of his car. I was not only late to my destination but also unable to work as a paid audience member for a network television show. (If you show up late, you get turned away.)

In tears on my way home, I realized the severity of what happened. I got kicked out of a Lyft for the first time, which caused me to miss out financially. This domino effect occurred only because the driver couldn’t respect me and my accent.

It wasn’t the first time my national origin has caused a backlash from American strangers. On countless occasions, I’ve had my…

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Portia B
LEVEL
Writer for

Writer of Caribbean descent. Have written for Galdem, Black Ballad, Zora and Level. Read more at https://linktr.ee/Portia