Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science, BS




Communication & Journalism Department

Faculty Advisor

Kevin Carragee


This research investigates the authenticity of white speakers of Black Vernacular English (BVE). The scope of the paper is limited to white speakers of BVE in America, including European immigrants. The paper explores how authenticity is determined, revealing a complex vetting process performed by Black, in-group speakers. Research indicates that many of the white BV users exhibit appropriate use, wherein the speaker employs a speech pattern from a community to which they do not belong. The paper supports that the root of white appropriation of BVE is the desire to project characteristics of “toughness” associated with stereotypes of Black masculinity. The research reveals that, in addition to their American counterparts, white immigrants to America appropriate BVE in a broader rejection of their affiliation with the white “majority.” This discourse is pertinent in the reassessment of the United States’ history of cultural appropriation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Included in

Communication Commons



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