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Your Voice Sounds White


You say I am all white


But how can I be all white?

I am 30% Nigerian


You say my voice sounds white


But how does a voice sound white?


I am 10% Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples


You say I am all white


Is it because I grew up in a society that only wanted whites?


A society that I had to deny half of myself


Just to be seen


You say I am all white


You are half right

I am biracial

I am 30% Nigerian


And


28% England & Northwestern Europe


I am proudly biracial


And claim


Both of my halves


But yet


The way I speak


Determines


My ethnicity


I don’t understand


How a voice determines my


Whiteness


Or


blackness


You say I am all white


That I need to stop


That I can’t rap


But who gives you


The right


To say I am all white


I am biracial


A woman


Raised by a white family


A woman


Surrounded by whiteness


You say my voice sounds white


And


You are half right


I am biracial


And


Half white


But you are also


Mistaken


You say my voice sounds white


But yet


You do not understand


That a person’s voice


Cannot determine their ethnicity


Your Voice Sounds White is inspired by the Olympia painting by Edovard Manet through the lens of linguistic bias. More specifically, this piece is referencing a specific incident that occurred between Roebuck and a friend. One where the friend questioned Roebuck's voice in terms of sounding too white or concluding that the sound of her voice was due to being raised by a white family. Through these assumptions, Roebuck has seated her figure on a couch taking subtle cues from Olympia: blunt gaze and daring its audience. Roebuck has specifically taken this reference to question, "how does a voice determine someone's ethnicity?" This line of questioning and prejudices made of Roebuck is continued throughout the piece, hidden and obscured. The three pillows situated behind the figure specifically say, "What does being black sound like?" You are all white," and "Your voice sounds white." The assumptions and prejudices made of Roebuck are continued on the legs of the figure saying, " Your voice sounds white."


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