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March 06, 2006

Multiracial Rant

Hey, that was quick! I did the podcast with Carmen Kerckhove of "Addicted to Race" last week and it's already been posted on the "Addicted to Race" site. (It's about halfway through the podcast.) I was originally supposed to rant alone about the subject of a ranty article I wrote recently, but writing the article had de-ranted me. So I asked Carmen to interview me instead. (Plus, I get to talk about porn! Pron!)

As usual, my voice sounded weird to me and it took a while for me to recognize it as my own. I did an exercise on writing "voice" with my high school students two years ago, where I brought in a tape recorder and had everyone read into it. Then I played it back and had everyone respond to how their recorded voices sounded to them. Almost no one liked their voice and most wrote that the reason was that their voices sounded either higher or lower than they had thought they were. No one said their voice was thinner, or richer, or dorkier than they thought. Just higher or lower.

That seems to carry a lot of meaning. The pitch of your voice, that is. Some of the students connected a higher pitch with less confidence and were surprised that they sounded so wimpy; or a lower pitch with masculinity or aggression and were surprised that they sounded so.

This is all by way of saying, I wasn't surprised at the pitch of my voice. I've done a lot of public readings in the past two years and so I've done a lot of rehearsing at home with a tape recorder. I'm not surprised by how my rehearsed voice sounds. I am surprised, though, at how dorky I sound. And I had no idea I said "um" so often.

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