Sunday, September 26, 2010

#14 Why Are Black Girls So Loud?

I was stopped at a light while headed to work the other day when three high school-aged Black girls stood at the light waiting to cross. I was a few cars back, but noticed that the girls were talking loud. This loudness was very familiar to me, as it was similar to what I experienced visiting the local high school last year. It is also the same decibel level I witness with young ‘urban’ Black girls on BART trains. It is nothing like what I experience with my own daughter. As a note, Black boys can also be loud as well, but I have found that boys/men of all colors/ages tend to regulate themselves based upon the threat their behavior might bring from nearby males. This seems not to be the case with Black females.

As a point of clarification, it is not lost on me that many ethnicities are louder than run-of-the-mill White or Asian folks. I have come to believe this is due to a polychronic communication dynamic that has group members competing simultaneously, via loudness, with each other for conversational air time. But I suspected that this Black girl/Black women loudness thing was somehow a bit more. It felt like these young ladies were purposefully raising the volume because of their surroundings.

Well I was right, and there is quite a bit of literature on the subject (here), much of it by Black social scientists. It seems that loudness is a mechanism of defense, as well as aggression, and just plain making sure that people do not take you for granted. Unfortunately the loudness comes with consequences as well, like the label of intimidating and unattractive.

I confirmed these assertions with a Black female co-worker, who described Black girl loudness as a way of putting everyone within hearing distance on notice that the speaker is not to be ‘messed with’. I am interested if her assessment fits with the perceptions of other Black women, and men as well.

James C. Collier

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35 comments:

-GØØD MØRNiNG BLU∑Z- said...

I happen to find it amusing and I love it AT TIMES..In a way it gives them a certain flavor...especially when everyone around them knows the topic is DAMN GOOD! Look, some times it makes them seem ghetto to others..thats the most common misconception I can think and know of. Whenever they are loud, people say...OH THEY ARE SO GHETTO or CLASSLESS...or DAMN THEY SETTIN THE NEGROES BACK...but I do not feel that way.

It is something that in a lot of ways is very unique to black women and makes them...THEM! No matter what environment or social status a black woman has had, I notice that when they get together..ITS ON! PUT IN UR EAR PLUGS OR GET READY TO BE ENTERTAINED! lol

THERE IS A LOT OF LOVE THERE IN MY OPINION WHICH MAKES THEM LOUDER AND LOUDER BECAUSE THEY GET SO EXCITED TO BE WITH EACH OTHER!

Ms. Negro said...

What was the point of this? You seem to just throw out things you notice about black people. No conclusion, no insight, lackluster writing, half thought out theories, and a dash of hate. All kids are loud. I kinda sorta see where you are going with this but not really because of your half baked ideas. So you come off as a Tom. Nah, I take that back I'm pretty sure you are a Tom now. This/you is a joke.

You never actually answered the question. The majority of the post was about some personal experience that you had which I'm sure was exaggerated by your hate for black people (yes I see it). And then you link us to some crummy PDF as your evidence. And had the nerve to actually say "Well, I was right". LOL. I could go on but I'm tired now.

And before anybody says "then don't read if you don't like it". I have already made that decision. But you know how us neck rolling, finger snapping, loud, have to get the last word black women are, right? We always have something to say.

James C. Collier said...

Ms. Negro, while you were so busy deriding me in stereotyped fashion, you missed the point. It was about defensiveness. That crummy pdf is well written with many good references. Sorry if the subject hits a little close to home.

Menelik Charles said...

"Why are Black girls so loud?" As a Black man living in London, England, this is a question I ask myself every time I board the bus on my way home from work.

I have an answer, btw, but I wanna keep it to myself. Black male insights into Black female behaviour are NOT welcome...so I'll just keep it moving.

Menelik Charles
London England

Anonymous said...

They get loud for the same reason an infant gets loud, to get attention.
"LOOK AT ME I AM ONE LOUD OBNOXIOUS BLACK WOMEN SO STAY OUT OF MY WAY AND TALK TO DA HAND!"

Same thing with the thugs with their BOOM-BOOM-BOOM stereos going down the road.
To get attention.

Then again maybe they are loud too because they can't HEAR from being in the thugs LOUD cars.

So how many hearing aids will Obama care have to buy when these people get older?

Girl on a Mission said...

I won't comment on the subject. However, I WILL say that it might be a good idea to disable anonymous comments. That is another reason I usually don't read your comment section. There is almost always some anonymous coward saying something racist.

Anonymous said...

Racist? It isn't about being black.
It's about actions. These people act that way and those are some of the reasons why. Being black has nothing to do with it but identifiable black culture does.
The truth hurts doesn't it.

Cite some evidence none of that is true.

Same thing is true about many cell phone users. It isn't about needing a cell phone as much as it is about everyone seeing you talking on it because that's the "in" thing these days.

How many times do we hear, "hey, what are you doing?"
Where's the need in that statement?
And how much money is thrown away on cell phone plans by these people when they could get a cheap prepaid plan?

What idiocy.

Yeah plenty of white folks doing the same idiotic things too including being loud but black women can do it sooooooo well.

ogunsiron said...

Ms. Negro said...

... lackluster writing, half thought out theories, and a dash of hate. All kids are loud.
---------
Stop right there !
I'm a firm believer in classifying, ranking, distinguishing and in *discriminating* (ie in being able to see the differences between things and concepts and people). If you want to argue that black kids are LESS loud than white kids, go ahead. I don't buy that bullshit about "all kids are loud", "it's all the same","it's all equally equal and no difference".
You remind me of those mothers of criminals who defend their unfortunately non aborted spawns by saying things like "all kids do something stupid once in a while, he's just a kid!".
What James said doesn't surprise me at all. I see it almost every day, whenever I come across black kids, boys and girls actually. It surely seems true that black girls are way, way louder than non black girls. Maybe you disagree. Argue your case. Just don't try to tell us that "all kids are loud" or that "all women are loud".

Gina said...

Two things: 1) You mention that you notice this behavior on BART trains, presumably in an urban centre. I've noticed that "city people" are, on a whole, 'louder' than their suburban counterparts. Age is also a factor -- you mention that the girls are school-aged. Immature people often engage in socially frowned-upon behavior, but it doesn't mean that All Kids are Bad, nor that All Black females are loud.
Also, there may be a class element in there as well -- "loud" seems to be a lower-class signifier at times, too.
2) I'm black and female, and Southern. I am *not* loud -- and neither are any of my black female friends. I think we get excited when we see each other, but so do groups of women of any race. Excited, high-pitched laughter and/or talking by Native, white, Hispanic and Asian women can be found at any bar or restaurant or hen night around the world. I think that for us, though, we are quite studious to keep our volume levels down much in the same way we try not to show anger or displeasure -- even when it is warranted -- in public: We don't want to confirm the negative stereotypes of black women.

If I may add: I've noticed that white guys get particularly obnoxious in groups,with the noise and rudeness levels proportionate to their numbers -- and exponentially so if alcohol is involved.
However, I do not think all white men are rude and obnoxious; though I do make it a point to avoid large numbers of fratboy types and football game/sports-bar kinds of activities where such behavior is likely to occur.

James C. Collier said...

Gina, I accept (and spoke to) the non-unique reasons Black girls are loud, except for the situation personified by the character played by Tasha Smith, in Tyler Perry's "WDIGM". FTR, I did not say all Black girls/women are loud. I am specifically interested in loudness as a defensive posture.

Anonymous said...

A defensive author and hateful commnents from readers...including the "unfortunately non aborted spawns" comment....Not sure how this blog is benefiting anyone but the author who will use it to publish a book purchased by those who share the same biased thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I think it's just a matter of upbringing. Unfortunately, a lot of parents are lax and just don't know how to instill good manners into their children. They might just convey the idea that respect sums up to greeting and expressing gratitude. However, there is a whole range of social behaviours and attitudes who must be taught to children. There are also a lot of people who confuse assertiveness with having little care for people's feelings or reactions. I can see why some would call that a defence mechanism. However, it's just plain rudeness to me and I have no problem calling it the way it is.

ogunsiron said...

Anonymous said...

A defensive author and hateful commnents from readers...including the "unfortunately non aborted spawns" comment....
--
Lol :)
Why are you calling the author defensive ? He's simply arguing his case and you and some other people aren't.
As for my comment : I feel it's completely appropriate to feel hate towards some people whom i consider social refuse. Since you probably need it spelled out : social refuse = among others, violent criminals whose moms cry on tv about what great kids and good boys they are.

Anonymous said...

"I feel it's completely appropriate to feel hate towards some people whom i consider social refuse."

I would hope this hate is spread equally across, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. I hope your "hate" applies to White serial killers or White politicans who cause illegal wars to happen, instead of just the black gangbangers in the hood. I hope it applies to th rich White men on wallstreet with their fleecing of the middle class and corporate bailouts, instad of just those so called lazy black people on welfare.

Anonymous said...

Ouch to Ms Negro, Well, your image of Ms Tasha above is the perfect example of the loud angry black women, it comes from a perception of a lack of love, and worthiness!

ogunsiron said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I feel it's completely appropriate to feel hate towards some people whom i consider social refuse."

I would hope this hate is spread equally across, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines.
-----
Oh really ? I'm not saying that my antipathy and hate is directed exclusively at the aforementioned groups, but i have to say that i don't believe for 1min that i have to spread my hate "equally".
You sound like someone on the left. Don't you hate the wallstreeters much much more than the underclass criminals? You have your own reasons, right ? Then i have my own reasons to focus my hate.

lincolnperry said...

Professor Collier

It all goes back to the antebullem culture of slavery, and ANON comment about a lack of love, respect and worth! So the volume comes from their Whoville mentality...We Are Here, We Are Here! Remember the Dr Sesus Fable!

Its all attempt to be recognized, because of society treating them as an invisible stigma!

Anonymous said...

I found what "Good Morning Bluez" said interesting. I was going to say I can't stand their loud, screechy, obnoxious bratty behavior, that I consider it a poor reflection on the parent (without the "s" usually) but from what GMB said, I realized that it can be a pleasantly unique characteristic of young black girls, all talking at the same time over each other excitedly and laughing, wisecracking, on the bus and there are times when I do like it and have a chuckle at the subject matter and their antics. I guess it isn't all "loud" behavior that I feel is annoying but moreso the "quality" of the loud behavior, if that makes any sense. I kind of like loud people, and loud, excited conversation by black girls (or any kids, or even adults) can be joyous, depending on what they are animatedly discussing. But unfortunately, for the most part, it is either mean, threatening, foul or attention-seeking and has a hollowness to it. And they usually leave all their trash and food-droppings on the seats and floor of the bus. Kind of sad, really.

Jael

ÐΣLLΛ ΤΗΣ ΗΛΖΣLNUT CUP said...

Thank You Jael!! It is a very complex at times but unique characteristic so there is no way to fully call it. they are just the way they are at times...you must listen each time to really understand whats going on. I wish more people would just pay attention..even if you are annoyed to find out what at least is going on before labeling it as GHETTO or trashy...

THIS BRINGS ON ANOTHER TOPIC! I HOPE MR COLLIER BLOGS ABOUT THIS..

WHEN FOLKS LABEL ANYTHING BLACKS DO AS GHETTO OR LOW CLASS! UGH!! I HATE THAT...seems like time someone finds out something is black owned or black sponsored, they are already talking about they better not start on CP time and they know its just going to be uber ghetto! I hate that! try to do something positive, and folk still dont want to be apart of it!

Sorry about my language and punctuation...I am a lot more well spoken..but very informal when typing my opinions...

thank you again,
DELLA aka GOOD MORNING BLUEZ

Tasha B said...

Maybe they are not trying to be attractive, and why should they be attractive towards you?

Yes most young people are loud not only black youngsters, maybe your area is different from mine and others. But they are just young and enjoying their conversation. People should mind their own business and let others be free.

James C. Collier said...

Tasha B, I agree that volume has its place, but I think you are missing the point - the loudness of these girls is too often intrusive on those around them.

lincolnperry said...

Professor Collier
Add Nicey Nash to the list, why do i have to turn down volume on my tellie, everytime this sista opens her mouth!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments about loud, young white men. Can be VERY obnoxious.

Also, many young people of various ethnic backgrounds call attention to themselves by using high decibel levels and attention getting behavior. "OH MY GOD! HE DRUNK DIALED ME AT MIDNIGHT! HAHAHAHA!' or, 'AMBER'S GOT AN STD! EVERYONE IN SCHOOL KNOWS ABOUT IT!'

The young people in question are, in effect, saying: 'Look at us. We are young and attractive. You are less attractive, so you will sit quietly while we monopolize this social setting.' Attractive behavior? Not really.

Mike said...

In my experience, it's not so much based on skin color or ethnicity... people who live in bigger cities generally tend to be cockier, louder, and ,ore obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered this. I am a very soft spoken person, and so are my mother and sister, but father is louder ( he is also from NYC). Oddly enough I've rarely heard a woman with a quieter voice than my own. I actually have trouble being heard in loud places...

I find loud voices to be distracting and uncouth- perhaps there is also a class distinction? Whenever someone is inordinately loud I feel defensive and slightly anxious.

Well, I just wanted to prove that not all Blacks are loud. Perhaps it is a social adjustment made for those who grow up in large families (where it's a struggle to be heard), and obviously vocal pitch is genetic.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say I'm a young african american female and I'm not loud. People actually wonder why I'm so quiet. I absolutely hate when an african american person is extremely loud and ghetto. It makes the rest of us look bad!

Anonymous said...

Black women are loud and rude because they hate the world, hate their lives, and want to let everyone within earshot to know..but more importantly, they are hurt...deeply and it is a cry for help. They want someone to comment on their voices and bam!! they'll go off and scream and fight all that inner hate and rage on someone else...the truth is, black girls have no role models, as the black bf's usually are thugs and losers, so it's no wonder they just cause trouble instead of trying to better their own lives like every other minority on earth....

Seronica said...

I'm biracial, and I'm tired of black women that feel the need to yell and act a fool. To me That's just ghetto and unclassy. I don't feel the need to run my mouth at top volume to get my point across. I'm not going to lower my standards to act stupid and ghetto like most African American women.

Anonymous said...

I have to comment on the part where you mentioned that it tends to be black women and not usually men. I have to disagree. In every black neighborhood I've been to (which has been quite a bit)the black men are just as loud, rude and arrogant. "Yo, what it do?" "Get the F away from my car, n****!" & arguing are some of the things I've heard from black men specifically. Numerous times, might I add. As for the rest of your artical, I agree. Black women can be loud and in your face.
Like one time when I was pushing my son's stroller across the parking lot, this black women swears I 'eyeballed' her wrong. She cursed me out in front of my kid and said, "You shouldn't have your d*** baby in the street!" I've had similar run-ins with black women. Most tend to be loud and rude. I try to steer clear of black people when possible. Too many bad apples make the whole bunch look bad.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't have any problem with black people.but its natural for people to notice the others's behavior.what I have noticed about black people particularly black women,they really are kind of rude and loud.If not all,at least majority of them are loud and rude.

you will find out most of the white,asian middle eastern,south asian girls quite at library,but black girls will always make noise,talk loudly on phone.even,If you indirectly show a hint which means that you are offended.they will not care about that and continue with their stuff.

3 black ladies live in the house I am living in,and 7 white people.you can clearly undestand who came inside just by the way they close the door.black women push the door that the 2nd neighbor can hear the noise.loud music,loudly speaking,yelling,irritating laughter.these all are what they are known for.

I hope black people,specially women try to change their behavior,sometimes it becomes really difficult to bear them.

A Concerned Citizen said...

Why do people act like this doesn't happen. If you look at 20 black people, 15 of them will be OBNOXIOUS. Not saying it is JUST black people but a large majority of black people are flat out loud, rude and obnoxious. There is no denying that. Yes, I know it is because of their upbringing, or peer pressure in a way, but it is still a fact, regardless the reason.

The world owes nobody ANYTHING and certain people need to stop blaming "slave days." The ghettoist of the ghetto knows nothing about slavery. Also realize that white people were not the only slave owners. Whites sold whites, blacks sold blacks. So blaming it on something you know nothing about is flat out ignorance and an excuse to act a fool and like an idiot.

In a nutshell you acting a fool just furthers the stereotype. Your volume is obnoxious.

For the white people. If you act ghetto, you speak too damn loud, sag your pants to the ground, have no respect or feel you have something to prove, just realize you look RIDICULOUS and nobody will ever take you seriously. You will continuously be laughed at so pipe the hell down.

Call this message racist all you want, I couldn't careless. It's about time someone spoke their mind. Deal with it.

ObnoxiousBeGone said...

@Good Morning Bluez

You are severely delusional. There is no excuse for the volume and half assed broken english most talk with when in that setting. It's not about love it's about the need for being heard. You can deny it all you want. Everybody who encounters this ridiculous behavior knows it to be true. Hopefully word gets out that it doesn't make them attractive, intimidating, classy. Quite the opposite actually.

Anonymous said...

Black people are genetically less inhibited than Whites. There is cultural reinforcement of this too but its basis is genetic. Studies have shown that blacks have less impulse control compared to Whites, and are more individualistic and less socially cooperative. Populations that left Africa and had to contend with harsh winters evolved to become more socially cooperative in order to survive. This difference in blacks leads to behavior that is all-around less considerate of others compared to Whites and Orientals.

Anonymous said...

PS. For more on this, read the abridged version of "Race Behavior and Evolution" by Rushton which explains the different studies, the traits they documented, and the evolutionary reasons for the differences.

Mal said...

Ok, so I'm a black female. I grew up in a middle class family and hung out with upper/upper middle class friends. Since then (about 10 years ago; in high school), I've had quite a variety of experiences involving very poor (economically) people. I have noticed the loud talking that tends to occur with black women who have lived a disadvantaged life. However, this is not something exclusive to black women. It really sucks that all black women have to take the rap for a few black women. It makes me wonder if you notice the black women who fit this stereotype. I know that being loud is not socially acceptable and that you must further yourself to change the overall impression of your race/gender. But, most of the time these women are not taught these things about the society we live in. Instead, they feel by being loud, they can be seen as a whole human. Society does not view them as "whole". And another thing, the black women that do talk loudly and seem rude, they're speaking with passion and sincerity. No blinders, no fakeness.

Overall, to me, loud talking isn't a big deal. I wish I were that expressive. People ask me all the time why I always look so "sad". It's because I don't want to perpetuate the loud black woman stereotype. I don't understand why people can't just be themselves without being judged. It's only because black people are at the bottom of the totem pole and people feel more comfortable blaming us for their problems because it makes them feel better. Black women who try to succeed in life and uphold family values are often ignored and overshadowed by negative stereotypes.