I decided to write this in the spirit of African-American history celebration and based on Serena’s call to celebrate the beauty in our differences.
Let me start by stating- my accent is an important part of my Identity, not a measure of my intelligence. More importantly, my identity is found in Christ.
It has sadly taken so long for me to embrace my accent and care less about people’s perception of my accent.
Thank God for motherhood! Motherhood is helping me grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally and in many other ways. I stopped worrying about my accent because I want my child to watch me speak with confidence anywhere and anytime. Worrying about my accent makes me shy or timid in some environment. I have declined public-speaking opportunities because of my accent. I have found myself pronouncing English words in unnatural ways and my ability to speak English fluently becomes questionable in my attempt to adopt a more American accent. I basically end up looking stupid.
I don’t want to live life like that and embarrass my child. Speaking with confidence says a lot about who we are. I want my child to be multilingual and that will possibly have an impact on his accent. I can’t teach him to speak confidently if I can’t model it.
After much introspection, I realized the main reason I didn’t like my accent is that it often leads to the question “where are you originally from?” and I didn’t want to be associated with Nigeria. Sadly true, I was focusing on the problems and negative things about Nigeria and that’s all I could see.
I was born in Nigeria. I have been speaking English since I was three years old and grew up speaking English fluently and better than my native language. When I moved to the U.S. in my late teens, I desperately wanted to change my accent. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t like my accent despite people telling me “I love your accent” several times. They often follow the compliment with “where are you originally from?”. That’s the question I didn’t like answering. I would have to tell them I am originally from Nigeria but I didn’t want to. That was the problem and motherhood solved the problem.
Motherhood opened my eyes to the fact that my birthplace was not an accident. My birthplace is part of God’s divine arrangement and that’s an important reason to embrace my accent and never be ashamed of my Nigerian heritage.
I believe God specifically chose me to birth my child and everything about his birth was divinely arranged. His place of birth isn’t an accident. That’s the same way my mother was specifically chosen to give birth to me in Nigeria. I was born in Nigeria for a reason. My place of birth is an important part of my identity and I must embrace it regardless of the negative stereotypes. To embrace it is to acknowledge the fact that God’s divine arrangement is perfect.
My accent is not fully Nigerian, neither is it fully American- It is a beautiful blend of I don’t know what to call it but I like it. It makes me unique, I am proud of it, and I choose to celebrate it.
Go Love Your Accent!
Let me know your thoughts below👇
This is a beautiful and revealing piece, our accent is a crucial part of our identity. It is the core of diversity!
When we are in Christ, it changes as we are citizens of God’s Kingdom. Motherland is just an entry point to the world, we are of Royalty and we should exhibit His nature.
Thank you Bukky. I agree with you, our Identity is found in Christ. Our sense of worth and value is in Him. We are of royalty! I actually deleted few sentences about how thinking like royalty (as God’s children) will reflect in our perception of self and speech. Thanks for the comment❤
There is beauty in the diversity of God’s creation and the diversity of his children. We should celebrate how creative our God is by embracing each others uniqueness 🙂
Yes! Every tribe and tongue reveals God’s creativity.
He he I have so so many thoughts but will narrow it down to top two or so. Even though we are Christ ambassadors, representing Gods kingdom here on earth, heavenly royalty so to speak, I agree that the country of our birth was also divinely orchestrated. Accent is a crucial part of our identity but I think the issue here being your accent identifying you to a less-than-reputable country. Girl I can totally relate!! Sometimes I would proudly side with only my maternal 50%contributed Asian genes if possible. I am glad your son will be able to grow up feeling proud of who he is in Christ as well as his Nigerian heritage. Pls teach him Yoruba ooo pls 🙂 I believe Language is still a powerful tool in so many aspects
Thanks for the comment. I am glad you can relate. The struggle is real. The media doesn’t help. Every Nigerian-American is suddenly from Nigeria whenever they do something bad. Even those who were born in the U.S.
Liking my somewhat confused accent is a continuous process. The good thing is that I no longer care what anyone thinks of my accent.
My husband will teach the little one Yoruba 😉
Hah yes …it’s annoying really the level of ignorance and racism displayed when it comes to criminality.
Good thing you made the conscious decision to embrace this symbolic part of your identity. Pls don’t leave it to husband ooo mother tongue is more influential than father tongue haha…is he Yoruba? I forgot to ask
You are funny. I didn’t know father tongue is a thing. Yes, Yoruba 😉❤
Haha yes oo for bi racial munchkins like myself father tongue is very much a thing 😀 especially when people in one’s fatherland are trying to give you grieve over not being able to speak the “Father Tongue”…I.e. Yoruba in my case :’D
Oh and u have not met confused accent lol. Not only is my accent a mix of I dunno how many countries but it changes according to my mood, which country or period of my life I’m referring to and I can somehow blend my accent to match or attempt to match the accent of person I am talking to 😀
Haahaa. Accents are contagious😉
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