Roger Cohen writes opinion for the NYTimes, is a naturalized American citizen raised in Britain, and in his own words “a Jew, the son of South African immigrants.”
Cohen writes about another naturalized American, Fiona Hill, who emigrated from County Durham in northern England. Her father was a coal miner from age 14.
American possibility contrasted for Hill with British prejudice. A “very distinctive working-class accent” would have “impeded my professional advancement” in the England of the 1980s and ’90s, she told the House Intelligence Committee. That same accent cut through bloviating Republicans like a knife.
(Roger Cohen, “Fiona Hill and the American Idea,” NYTimes, 11-22-19)
Fiona Hill’s mention of how her accent would have held her back in England triggered memory of a remark by Dr. Katherine Kennedy Carmichael (1912 – 1982), the first dean of women at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
In her distinguished drawl she quipped with twinkling eyes to a gaggle of language students, “All my life people have listened less to what I say and more to how I say it.”
(c) 2019 JMN