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Guest Linda B.

Reading dialect aloud

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Guest Linda B.

Hello,

 

I am a white high school English teacher. I read out loud to my freshmen a lot. If I am reading an author like Langston Hughes or Lorraine Hansberry, and the author has a character speaking in dialect, is it okay for me as a white person to voice that dialect? 

 

In Hughes's "Thank You, M'am," I have always voiced the dialect that Langston wrote for his caring, strong Mrs. Jones. My students (mostly white, with a few Hispanic students and one or two black students) have always responded positively and with interest when I read the story aloud, but now I'm not sure a white teacher should "voice" a Black character? I have found recordings online that seem to feature Black voice actors using his dialect.

 

I would appreciate some thoughtful feedback on whether white educators reading aloud should use the dialect an author has created.

 

Thank you!

 

 

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Reading the dialect, the way it was written, is perfectly acceptable. Indeed, it is encouraged. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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