in ,

Student Called ‘Racist’ For Refusing To Adjust ‘Weird Accent’ To Accommodate American Classmates

Maskot/Getty Images

Sad as it may seem, foreigners who have made a new country their home are still not often enough treated with the respect they deserve.

Be it for their appearance, the way they speak, or the way they behave, there remain far too many closed minded people who often demand they adapt and become more like them.

Redditor CommercialSmell5138 always had something of an uphill battle with his accent, owing to the fact that he’d called a number of different places home, resulting in those dialects sticking with him.

But things came to a head at his current school, where his peers demanded that he change his accent.

Wondering if he was wrong to refuse this request, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to change my accent?”

The OP first shared how his rather undefinable accent came to be.

“I’ve got a very weird accent.”

“I’m from London, but am British Indian and spent a large portion of my childhood in Singapore, so my accent is very garbled.”

“I’ve got a distinct Cockney accent, but it can sound weird sometimes.”

“I’ve also got many Scottish influences in my life, as I went to an international school in Singapore, so sometimes I accidentally switch into a Scottish accent.”

“That only happens rarely.”

“My parent’s first language is also Hindi, and english is their second, so tho they speak it very well.”

“They’ve got an Indian accent.”

“My father does have a more neutral/British one though.”

“All this is context to basically show how f*cked my background and accent is.”

But the OP’s classmates at his current school refused to tolerate his accent, and did not mince words when telling him so.

“I live in Wales now.”

“My school has a fair few Americans, many of whom are ‘campaigning’ against our more unintelligible accents.”

“Guys from Glasgow, Liverpool, and London are in their crosshairs in terms of wanting us to speak slower and basically ditch the things that make up our accents.”

“They especially hate me because I speak with a distinct mix of the Cockney and Scottish accent which results in a hellish hybrid which they feel is me ‘faking’ it.”

“Their other point is that we often have to work together in group settings, so it’s unfair on them that whenever I talk they either miss out on info, or get distracted.”

“They say I’m being unwelcoming for them and racist and that I should at least try and be more accommodating.”

“AITA for not wanting to change my accent to be more understandable?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was in no way the a**hole, and shouldn’t even think of changing his accent.

Everyone agreed that it was the OP’s classmates who were the racist, ignorant ones, and expressed their horror at what the OP had to go through,  with some suggesting he give them a taste of their own medicine.

“As an American I can tell you a phrase that will help.”

“‘This is Wales! Speak Welsh!'”

“‘This is England! Speak English!'”

“Adjust as location dictates.”

“Tell them to listen faster.”

“Also, NTA.”- Mazresk


“But speak slowly for them; people with less intelligence sometimes have a harder time catching on.”- ChapSteve711

“No no, you’re doing it wrong.”

“Tell them they’re AmeriCANs, not AmeriCANTs.”

“NTA, and sorry us Americans suck.”

“The audacity to call someone racist for speaking their natural way.”

“I blame the current state of my country (aka shambles).”- littlebutbigyk


“Why would the American students move to the UK which is diverse and campaign for UK residents to change their accents to suit them?”- Plane_Practice8184

“If anyones being racist, it;s them.”

“Telling you YOU’RE unwelcoming to THEM when you’ve done nothing but speak to them, thats so ignorant it’s almost unbelievable.”

“I’ve worked with people who have extremely strong accents, and the first thing they say to me, is apologizing if i can’t understand them.”

“Which honestly, no matter how thick of an accent someone has, if you listen carefully you can understand them 95% of the time.”

“And if you can’t, it doesn’t hurt you to politely ask them to repeat themselves.”

“It’s sad people feel the need to even apologize for speaking.”

“These people are big AH’s for saying any one of the things they said to you.”

“EVERYONE has their own unique accent.”

“Just bc they don’t wanna listen when someone is speaking clearly doesn’t give them the right to tell you how you can or cannot speak.”

“Tell them to clean their ears out.”

“I swear, the audacity of some people.”

“NTA, OP.”

“Don’t ever feel the need to change anything ab yourself to please ANYONE.”

“Its soooooo stupid they think you can just ‘ditch’ certain things ab your accent”

“Its literally not in your control.”- irohmakesmesob


“I really want to hear your accent now out of curiosity!”

“I think it’s beautiful frankly that you have so many different influences in your accent and it makes me a bit sad that people want to change that.”

“If you make an effort to understand people with different accents, I find it becomes a lot easier- all they need to do is put in a bit of effort and they’ll be fine.”- ktitten

“Believe it or not, I know these people.”

“Not them per se but I grok them.”

“NTA and I won’t give you advice, outside of you asking, but they are scared they aren’t on top and feel…parochial.”

“This leads to lashing out against things that are both foreign and not standard.”

“They don’t know where you fit in and you look and sound different from them and the ‘bog standard’ so they don’t like you.”

“But these people are very easy to impress and their reaction isn’t thought through, or something they deeply believe.”

“I’d say it’s an easy fix tbh, and being British you know the move.”

“NTA.”- PM_yourAcups

“So, as an American, tell them that they need to ‘Learn to speak Welsh or British English, because they aren’t in America anymore’.”

“Also pepper in a very sweet but sarcastic ‘Oh bless your heart’ if they disagree.”

“For those who don’t know btw, even though America has no official language, racists will lose their t*ts if they hear people using non-American accents or any language besides English.”

“And again, specifically American English.”

“NTA and give them hell.”

“I also really want to hear what your accent sounds like, it sounds like it would be amazing.”-Zero_Storm


“Speaking more slowly, I agree with.”

“Completely changing your accent to accommodate them?”

“They need to find somewhere else to be.”

“I’m surprised that the professors/teachers/instructors aren’t saying something about those foreigners students harassing y’all.”- HeatherReadsReddit

“A cockney Scottish accent.”

“I’d love to hear that mate haha.”

“I’m Glaswegian, living in Oz, teaching.”

“It’s not easy.”

“I just tell folk ‘I speak fast*, so you have to listen fast’.”

“I don’t think I do, but no Glaswegian does but apparently we do.” -weesp_

“NTA obviously.”

“Tell them from me, a fellow American, one of their favorite phrases.”

“That ‘if they don’t like it, they should go back to their country’.”-jll387


“Do not change your accent.”

“Hell, I would lay it on thicker!”

“Complain to your school administration about this behavior.”

“The American students are being ridiculous and arrogant.”- ruthlessspiller

“First, to be clear NTA in any way.”

“The only thing I might suggest is checking in with people who can understand you to make sure you aren’t also mumbling or speaking too quietly.”

“My Scottish roommate was a quiet mumbler and I really think a lot of why I couldn’t understand him was more to do with the mumbling.”

“Also Spotify kept playing the same damn ad all day today and that guy had a mix of at least 3 different accents.”

“It was a little disoriented as my brain kept trying to guess where he was from, but I understood every word because his enunciation was great.”- NoFaithlessness8019

“Nta, but I really want to hear your accent now!”-Elshivist

“Lemme get this straight.”

“They’re Americans in the UK, and they’re calling YOU racist for having an accent from your own local region?”

“Absolute nonsense.”

“NTA whatsoever.”- LordoftheFuzzys


“And as a Scot, in my experience, they’re the ones being racist.”

“I used to work at a tourist trap in my hometown, and regularly gave directions to people whose first language was not English.”

“They always understood me just fine.”

“The only people who ever complained about Unintelligible Scottish Accents were Americans and posher English people who had spent their lives being told that their way of speaking was the ‘correct’ way to speak English, and every English speaker from a country besides those two was doing it wrong.”

“Makes you wonder why they wanted to spend their holidays in Scotland in the first place, haha!”-PettiSwashbuckler

One hopes that the OP’s teachers are aware of this and will do something about this.

As no one should have to go through what the OP is going through.

Especially not at a place of learning.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.