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WTF is a blaccent? Peep the ‘ghetto trend’ that’s taking over TikTok

TikTok has made its name as the latest short video editing and sharing platform. Teens were the first to take to it of course, with innovative and creative content, reminiscent of the dearly departed vine platform. But more like Reddit and 4chan, TikTok has been used to perpetuate racial stereotypes by many teens.

We’ve seen this kind of behavior before with blackfishing on IG. Several videos have surfaced showing non-black/brown students doing what they believe to be a blaccent. Sure there are white teens that use slang that originates from black and brown communities, but that is not at all what’s happening here.

This isn’t a case of being primarily white growing up around friends and family in a community that speaks a certain way, either.

Here’s how this girl regularly talks:

Peep the difference with this dude too:

Is this code-switching?

No. These are not examples of code-switching. Code-switching is when a non-white person must learn how to switch between ways of speaking in order to survive.

Knowing how to code-switch from one’s cultural accent to a “white-passing” accent could mean the difference between getting a job or being understood/respected in a courtroom setting.

Whether it’s done for clout, because they think a blaccent is “cool,” or just jokes, it’s still not okay. The mocking isn’t light-hearted when there’s an entire ongoing history that dehumanizes the very people these TikTokkers seek to emulate for views.

But the kicker is that they refer to the accent as “ghetto” half the time on these TikToks. That’s just code for what they think is Black. And of course, they are not using “ghetto” in a positive light.

Simply put, the purpose of these videos is to ridicule a way of speaking. It’s not appreciative. It’s at least appropriative and most likely racist.

The difference between these videos and blackface is virtually non-existent. They just didn’t have the commitment to put on the makeup.

What do we do?

Now there has to be some part of these teens’ consciousness that knows that this behavior is not good. But because being a teen is already confusing no matter your race, the moral of the story is not to necessarily cancel these kids, but rather to educate them.

It shouldn’t take them until they are young adults to learn about the history of blackface and pervasive racism through media. The education system needs to teach kids about how symbolism with or without context can be dangerous.

Overall representation matters and these Tiktoks dehumanize the kid that actually talks like that.