Minorities have a view that only white kids do well in school, therefore if you are doing all your work and you get good grades then you are trying to “act white”. It’s usually taken as an offence; it’s not something that most minority races would like to be called. Many people deny “acting white” by any means possible, in order to not look as if they are distancing themselves from their peers. In doing this “acting white”, people get the negative impression that you think you’re better than the rest of the community. This results in hate being directed towards them. This is why most of these people usually want nothing to do with the community they grew up in and want to be separate as much as they can from their past When they change their way of living and the way they presenting themselves they are considered “trying to be white”. They try to distinguish themselves from whatever kind of image they were stereotyped as. They talk, dress, and act differently in order to appear to be something different other than their own race. They begin to ignore their childhood background and only claim or show what they have made of themselves in their present time. Although they may have had a good childhood, they just want to choose to be what they think is best in their eyes.
The terms “acting white” are used these days to insult someone that is not living by their stereotype. They make the assumption that if you are putting the extra effort in taking advance classes, which are predominately filled with white students then you want to be like them. If anyone from a certain race or culture exceeds the rest of the group they are teased or insulted. A lot has to do with so many different groups facing poverty and racism in this country.
They enjoy staying where they feel emotionally comfortable; they refuse to put themselves in situations that will push them outside of their comfort zone. People just assume that because someone comes from a certain area they are supposed to look and act like what they imagine. For example if a person comes from Oakland they assume that they are ghetto and live in a poor community. When people don’t act like how people believe they do, they are considered be trying to act like something they are not.
The article in the book explains that people of the same race stay together because of historical events that have affected their specific groups of ethnicity. Humans by nature normally stay very close to the communities they were raised in (Buck 641). People are afraid of change and what’s different. People only like to hang out with people that enjoy the same things as themselves (Buck 641). It is natural for a human to become territorial about the people they hang out with. They adapt to them and bond with that person. In any kind of relationships, people carefully select who they want to associate with. The article tells us how people usually only make close relationships with others of their own race. This leads to groups of certain individuals to become competitive with each other so they don’t normally mix (Buck 641). This is why when someone extends their social life to mix with other groups and different races, they tend to be out-casted or insulted by their own race. They begin to view you as a wannabe and that goes back to the concept of them thinking “they are better.”
That’s why people get offended when being accused of trying to be something they are not. I think this is a big and unfortunate reason why many people are so hesitant to leave their social community. They don’t want to be thought of as what their community believes to be a ‘loser”. The article “acting white” talks about successful people who went through the same experiences. Michelle Obama explains how she was made fun of and was insulted by being told she was “acting white” for trying to achieve higher grades in school (Buck 637). I agree that most people that see an individual stepping outside of the communities’ social “normal” are usually a target for ridicule. She explains that she didn’t want to be like everyone else or to be content with her community’s standards (Buck 637). She refused to be part of the stereotype that claims that because she’s African American it’s not okay or expected for her to achieve a higher education (Buck 637). Although Michelle Obama doesn’t deny the fact she comes from an African American Home. She embraces it, she is proud of who she is. Even though she was insulted for “acting white” she doesn’t claim to be white. She didn’t want to lose who she really was, and how she grew up. I think that’s a reason why so many students choose to do so poorly is because of the fear of being out-casted and being told they are trying to be like “white people” because they have a bad perception of them. They don’t want their communities to turn their back on them. They become ashamed of being told that they are not being what everyone else wants them to be. Although this may not always be the case, there are also many cases where their families want their children to be different and inspire them to do better. Many families choose to encourage their children rather than to insult them and try to make them stay in the social expectance.
In the article the author of “acting white” also explains that desegregation helped create the insulting terms of “acting white” and “trying to be white”. Today, these terms are usually used from one minority to another; however, the term was more widely used by whites when blacks were first moved into white schools during the civil rights movements of the 60’s (Buck 640). The white school mates would accuse the blacks of trying to be white (Buck 640). Those terms were used by racist whites that wanted to insult the new blacks that were being pushed into their world. This movement made many black school children feel uncomfortable because it pushed them into a different culture where they were never allowed before. These terms now are used to offend people of the same race in modern society. I think it’s still mostly seen in large minority groups that live in poverty. They don’t want anyone to be successful, because they aren’t either. Their envy for success doesn’t allow them to cheer on a fellow peer striving to be successful they rather put them down and break their spirits to not let them achieve their goals.
In society there are so many different kinds of controversial terms that are used to insult different types of types of race. The gap between equality is considered to be small, but in reality I think that it’s still large (644). I believe that people themselves can’t accept the fact that people can exceed the social community normal. So many different ethnic groups see white people to be considered to be superior. So when they see someone from their community trying to become successful they insult them by claiming they are “acting white”. When they see someone that is trying to be different from what they grew up the insult them by telling them that they are “trying to be white” or claiming. If they see appearance change or the way the talk, they simply assume that they don’t want anything to do with their born race. Stepping outside of their stereotype for some reason seems to draw negative attention from their communities. People think one is “claiming” to be white simply because they are doing well in school and are in pursuit of higher education. They think that they are “trying to act white” because it’s a personal choice as to how you present yourself and if you chose to present yourself differently than your peers you are “trying” or “claiming” to be something you are not.
Buck, Stuart, comp. Acting White, Signs of life in the USA. Maasik, Solomon, 2012. 637-648. Print.