50 I CHRONICLESnshe clipped her vowels and pronouncednher terminal “g’s.”nBut at least he gave her a job in thenfirst place. It was revealed a few yearsnago that some Congresspersons hadnspecified “no Southern accent” as ancriterion for hiring folks to work inntheir offices. You know, some Southernersnfind non-Southern speech ugly,ntoo: In a 1971 survey, about one whitenNorth Carolinian in eight and onenblack in six agreed that “I don’t like tonhear a person with a Northern accent.”nChacun a son gout, and perhapsnsomeone’s entitled to i have hisnphone answered in whatever accent henprefers. But recall that these are thensame legislators who pass federal antidiscriminationnlaws.nAnd there’s more to this than aesthetics.nApparently some believe thatnslow speech indicates slow thoughtn—or so we might conclude from laboratorynstudies showing that the averagennon-Southern college sophomore assumesna Southern speaker to be lessnbright than a non-Southern one, evennwhen the two are saying exactly thensame thing. Since college sophomoresnoccasionally grow up to be employers,ntheir prejudices are of more than academicninterest, and it may make sensento take them into account.nWhile it may be canny to cater tonsomebody else’s bigotry, though, it’s anrisky business. If you come to acceptnhis standards for your own, it can bendownright degrading. Maybe the miserablenwretches who engage the servicesnof speech pathologists know whatnthey’re doing, in a sense. But maybenblack folks who invest in skin-lightenern’A Thought Is Only As Good As Its Expression”nLITHOnOur ClientsnExpress ThemselvesnWith Quality Printing.nCongratulations to Chroniclesnon 10 yean of fine publishing.nLitho Productions, Inc. P.O. Box 9423 • Madison, WI 53715nnnor hair-straightener do, too. When itncomes to regional accents, I side withnAtlanta journalist Lewis Grizzard,nwho wrote that “if you are going tonclasses to lose your Southern accentnyou are turning your back on yournheritage and I hope you wind upnworking behind the counter of a conveniencenstore with three Iranians andna former Shiite holy man.”nSo what can we do about it? Well,nMike Royko inadvertently suggestednan answer, in a column written at justnabout the same time that Ms. Inman-nEbel’s sinister activities were being exposed.nRoyko wondered idly why it isnthat Joseph William Namath of BeavernFalls, Pennsylvania, has a Southernnaccent and was known for a time asn”Joe Willie” Namath. He speculatednthat since Namath’s longtime occupationn”involved being chased and fallennupon by gigantic linemen, most ofnwhom seem to be either black or whitenSoutherners,” perhaps “Namathnthought that if he talked like them,nthey wouldn’t fall on him as hard.”nRoyko also noted the prevalence ofnSouthern speech patterns in popularnmusic, pointing to the career of BobnDylan, a Jewish boy from Minnesotanwho did all right once he learned tonsound like an Okie, and to the delightfulnspectacle of English rock singersnbawling, “C’mawnn all you peepuhhlll,nlet’s git togayder.” (Royko’snattempt to reproduce a Southern accentnas rendered by English rockersnmay not be entirely satisfactory, butnyou get the idea.)nFinally, Royko wrote, a co-workernof his affected “Yuppabilly dialect”nbecause he discovered that he couldnimpress more females in singles bars ifnhe spoke with a drawl. It provided himnwith a more “rakish, macho, good oldnboy personality than did his Yale background.”nNow, frankly, I find Royko’s picturenof big-city MBA’s in Tony Lama bootsnsaying “Mah place or yores?” about asnpathetic as that of Billie Sue Knittelntrying to enunciate. But the basicnpoint remains. When Southerners arengood at something—football, singin’,npicking up women—they don’t havento shed their accents. If anybody’s at andisadvantage, it’s those who don’tndrawl. Shelly Friedman’s course is fornthe Billie Sues of this world. You don’tnsee Ted Turner signing up for it. And In