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Can You “Hear” Race?

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I’ve been wondering about this for a while now. Whenever you hear a black speak, nine times out of ten, you can tell whether or not it’s a black who is speaking. The differences come down to testosterone and morphological differences in vocal cords.

This study compared vocal tracts in 140 white, black and Asian speakers who were divided amongst the three races. The researchers controlled for age, gender, height and weight. They measured six dimensions in vocal tracts with acoustic reflection technology. They discovered that significant gender and racial differences exist in certain vocal tract dimensions. These findings will help researchers with a new anatomical database of those from different races and how their voice tracts differ for more study into it.

In this study, they measured volumetric differences in males from different races. They investigated vocal tracts, such as length differences in them, to see which would contribute to racial differences in acoustic characteristics. The findings help to support the hypothesis that those from different races may possibly have morphological differences when it comes to vocal tract dimensions. Those same dimensions could also be responsible for differences in vowel sound of specific dialect/speech.

People use  everything from their throats to noses when they speak, and since there are morphological differences there, one would reason that there would be differences in the voices between races, on average. Basically, those with different facial features should have different voices. Since the races have different facial features, as well as morphological differences in vocal tracts and larynx and everything in between, then there are obvious differences in voices.

Taking 50 blacks and 50 whites and having them say an ‘a’ sound which was then recorded. The researchers paired one black subject with one white subject and the individuals in the study were able to guess the correct race 60 percent of the time. The researchers then gave an acoustic analysis of the voices. What was then discovered was that all though the voices for the black subjects was within normal ranges, the black subjects had “greater frequency perturbation, significantly greater amplitude perturbation, and a significantly lower harmonics-to-noise ratio than did the white speakers.” The listeners were most successful in distinguishing voice pairs when the differences in vocal perturbation and additive noise were greatest (obviously) and least successful when those differences were minimal or absent (again, obviously). Since there was no fundamental difference in the mean fundamental frequency and format structure of the samples, it’s extremely likely that the listeners relied on spectral noise to differentiate black and white speakers.

Even blind people “see” race!! Yet more proof that the races differ in speech as well as have morphological differences between them.

I’ve always noticed that, on average, you can tell a black from a white and a white from an Asian. Testosterone also plays a part. In Rushton’s debate with Joseph Graves, he says that testosterone differences are the cause for racial differences in voice. Testosterone mediates a lot of things in the human body. Testosterone levels also mediate the deepness of an individual’s voice. Those with more testosterone have a deeper voice, and those with less testosterone have a higher voice. East Asians have the least testosterone out of the three races, and they have the highest-pitched voices. Conversely, blacks have the highest testosterone and have the deepest voices, as well as the most distinct voices between the races. Whites, as usual, fall in the middle.

Black males have a smaller overall size gradient, Asians the biggest, and of course, whites fall in the middle. The sound of voices doesn’t just vary between races, but by gender within races as well.

Can we “hear” race? The answer is yes!! Whether it’s morphological differences in the voice tract or larynx or  testosterone differences between races, we definitely can discern someone’s race on average when speaking to them. 



  1. You can even smell race. Whites smell better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. Paleo Paul says:

    I’ve heard you are not a fan of the Paleo diet and you trash it.

    Give me one good fucking reason why the Paleo diet sucks.


    • RaceRealist says:

      It’s not that I’m not a fan of it per se, just people write horrible articles backed by “opinions”. These “opinions” are not backed by the literature and the reasoning for doing the paleo diet, in my opinion, is stupid.

      We can discuss in either of these two articles if you’d like. I wrote 2 refutations to Andrew Anglin on the matter.

      HBD and Diet Advice: Anglin Paleo Refutation Part 2

      Response to Daily Stormer article on the Paleo Diet

      I have a problem with people pushing their “opinions” when they are not qualified to do so, then people believe it without sources. He didn’t even back his claims which had me know it was his “opinion” and not backed by the nutrition literature.

      Any diet that has people stick to it indefinitely I have no problem with. Just if you’re doing paleo for any magic reasons, it’s not true.

      Dr. John Berardi says that there is no evolutionary argument for it
      Leave a comment on one of the above posts I linked so we can discuss this. I will go more in depth there.

      Give me one good reason why the Paleo Diet is a good diet.


  3. Jm8 says:

    Differences in voice depth are not mentioned in the study. The race differences reported are somewhat inconsistent according to gender.
    “Unfortunately, the data was pretty inconclusive. Gender juggles the overall size and dimensions of the inside of the mouth. In males, researchers found an overall size gradient, with African American males having the smallest oral cavities, Chinese men having the largest, and white American males splitting the difference. Chinese women headed the list in terms of oral volume and just barely won out in total vocal tract volume, while white American women had by far the largest pharyngeal volume. African American women came in last in everything except oral volume, where they outdistanced white American women.
    “African American voices had greater frequency perturbation, greater amplitude perturbation, and a lower harmonics-to-noise ratio. This means that, on average, African American male voices varied in tone and loudness more than white American male voices.”
    Greater tonal variation is a cultural trait associated with tonal African languages and is not genetic. Residual African grammatical and phonological traits have been identified in the American Black dialect (albeit faint, and much weaker than in black Caribbean dialects) by linguists). The habit of tonal variance is one of them.
    American blacks have a very distinct dialect and subculture ( rarely being truly assimilated, and historically scrupulously segregated from the mainstream of society) and are not the best group to use in this kind of study (It is easiest to distinguish US blacks by voice). This is less true generally of (locally born, more assimilated blacks) in other western countries. Though some still, like some non-black ethnics born to immigrant parents, may be influenced by the ethnic dialects of the parent generation, especially those raised in ethnic neighborhoods/enclaves(like the residually distinctive speech patterns of many American born Jewish, Italian, and Irish Americans; esp. in historical immigration destinations like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.).


    • RaceRealist says:

      Those with higher levels of testosterone in childhood will have lower voices at adulthood. With an increase in testosterone, the larynx gets bigger. This higher testosterone causes the morphological difference in the larynx which causes a lower pitched voice.

      In a meta-analysis, it was found that blacks have 2.5 to 4.9 percent higher free testosterone in comparison to whites.

      A meta-analysis was performed using weighted mean differences (WMD) to compare hormones levels between black and white men. Fifteen eligible studies were identified; three did not report adjusted means. After age adjustment, free testosterone levels were significantly higher in black than in white men (WMD = 4.07 pg/mL, 95% CI 1.26, 6.88). Depending on the free testosterone concentration in white men, this WMD translates into a racial difference ranging from 2.5 to 4.9%. Total testosterone (WMD = 0.10 ng/mL, 95% CI −0.02, 0.22), estradiol (WMD = 0.67 pg/mL, 95% CI −0.04, 1.38) and SHBG (WMD = −0.45 nmol/L, 95% CI −1.75, 0.85) concentrations did not differ comparing blacks with whites. After adjustment for age, black men have a modestly but significantly 2.5 to 4.9% higher free testosterone level than white men.

      Since blacks on average have higher levels of testosterone than whites, this causes morphological differences in the larynx, leading to differences in voice. Testosterone is one of the main causes for this.

      Higher and lower testosterone both cause morphological difference in the larynx and vocal tracts causing a difference.


    • Jm8 says:

      “Those with higher levels of testosterone in childhood…”

      Lower pitched voices were not found, nor are larger larynxes(voice boxes) found in blacks in the study.


    • RaceRealist says:

      Pg 95 of the Xue dissertation:

      The present study has achieved two major goals: the first was to extend the
      application of AR-based length and volumetric examinations to speech production
      research including large groups of subjects, and the second was to provide normative data
      of the vocal tract dimensions of male and female speakers from three different races.
      Attempts were also made to apply these measurements to an empirical evaluation of the
      relationship between vocal tract dimension and formant structure relationship. In
      summary, this study has demonstrated the following major findings:

      1. Significant gender and race differences were found in vocal tract dimensions.

      Pg 33: “Race was found to be a significant variable for oral volume and total tract volume.”

      I cited the testosterone differences in whites and blacks due to testosterone being a cause for deepened voice, which the higher testosterone leads to a morphological difference in the larynx in blacks compared to whites leading to a differing voice.


  4. Jm8 says:

    Since “fundamental frequency” is the cause of pitch, a lack of differences “in the mean fundamental frequency ” indicates a lack of the same in pitch between the black and white samples (hence differences in other qualities were relied upon).


    • RaceRealist says:

      Rushton writes on page 163 of Race, Evolution, and Behavior:

      Blacks have deeper voices than whites. In one study, Hudson and Holbrook (1982) gave a reading task to 100 black men and 100 black women volunteers ranging in age from 18 to 29 years. The fundamental vocal frequencies were measured and compared to white norms. The frequency for black men was 110 Hz, lower than the 117 Hz for white men, and the frequency for black women was 193 Hz, lower than the frequency of 217 Hz for white women.

      Blacks do have deeper voices than whites on average. The differences come down to morphological differences in vocal chords as well as testosterone differences.


    • Jm8 says:

      Later studies, including the one previously cited, do not confirm the Holbrook conclusion.


    • Jm8 says:

      edit: “…do not replicate the Holbrook conclusion.”


    • RaceRealist says:

      For instance, White Americans shared similar vocal tract configurations with African Americans, and both groups also shared similar F1 which was different from that of the Chinese speakers. However, AfricanAmericans also demonstrated significantly higher F2 than the Chinese cohorts, but this difference was not noted between White Americans and the Chinese cohorts. This intriguing phenomenon may indicate that more studies are needed to integrate the segmental volumetric parameters into future models of speech productions with the hope of thoroughly delineating the correlations between segmental volumes, as well as length parameters, with the acoustic outputs.

      Volumetric measurements of vocal tracts for male speakers from different races

      More research needs to be carried out of course.

      Also, testosterone is shown to affect vocal tracts:

      Results supported previous findings for a negative relationship between circulating levels of testosterone and fundamental frequency, with higher testosterone indicating lower fundamental frequency, although the magnitude of the relationship was larger than previously observed.

      The relationship between testosterone and vocal frequencies in human males

      Blacks have more testosterone so more testosterone would affect vocal tracts more than in whites on average.


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