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How Does a Voice Sound


I have been told I am all white

I have been told

That I needed to change

I have been told

That I have been searching for connection

A sense of belonging

At three

I was lost

Lost in darkness

Loss of connection

Feeling of belonging

In a family

That I couldn’t see myself

I have been told I am all white

But what you don’t realize

Is that

I am biracial

A woman

Thrown into whiteness

I have been told that

I needed to change

Change my voice

But how

Does a voice sound white?

Is it because I am

Biracial

Or

Raised by a white family

Or

Brought up in a society that celebrated whites?

At three

I was thrust into darkness

Searching and

Searching

For a sense of belonging

But now

I see

I belong

There isn’t such a thing as sounding white

Or

Sounding black

A voice doesn’t determine

Someone’s ethnicity

Now I see that

I belong

Yes, I was brought up in a society

That accepts whites

But

That doesn’t

Determine my

Whiteness

Or blackness

It was an upbringing that

Brought love

An upbringing that showered

Acceptance

Kindness

And

A generation of change

I wish you could see

The pain

You caused

The pain of judging

Someone

Based on their voice

But it is okay

Okay, that

You don’t know any better

Or maybe you do

Do you know what it feels like to be judged by your skin color

to be thrown into spotlight for sounding too white

Or even too black

I thought you would know

The pain of being judged

Not being accepted

You and I

Are the same



This piece takes on a more direct approach in question linguistic bias. Stitched into the wood cutout are two questions presented to the view, “how does a voice sound black?” and “how does a voice sound white.” By asking these questions Roebuck hopes to bring awareness to those who prejudge someone before inquiring about their ethnicity.


While proposing those two questions, Roebuck is depicting a Calathea (rattlesnake) plant that is symbolizing turning over a new leaf/new beginning. By depicting this specific plant, Roebuck is encouraging others to move past their linguistic bias to embrace a new way of accepting others.



How does a voice sound is part of my linguistic bias series. Stitched into the wood cutout are two questions presented to the view, “how does a voice sound black?” and “how does a voice sound white.” By asking these questions Roebuck hopes to bring awareness to those who prejudge someone before inquiring about their ethnicity.


While proposing those two questions, Roebuck is depicting a Calathea (rattlesnake) plant that is symbolizing turning over a new leaf/new beginning. By depicting this specific plant, Roebuck is encouraging others to move past their linguistic bias to embrace a new way of accepting others.




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