One day while in the office, an Iranian woman I worked for as her personal assistant, asked to speak to me and told me that I needed to work on my accent. Now, this coming from a woman who herself had an accent that I could barely understand at times, you can understand why this was insulting to me. She went on to say that I pronounced the word “ask” like “ax.” She went on to say she noticed that other Black people do that as well. She also commented that people can tell that I am Black when I answered the phone. I responded with “why does that matter?” She never did answer my question. I then said, “you don’t think that people who speak to you can’t tell that you are a foreigner?” She responded with yes but made it a point to never answer my question about what difference my race made to people on the phone.
Months later while listening to my friends stress about their job search this incident came to mind. It made me wonder how many jobs they have been passed over because of their African American dialect. When I say dialect I am not speaking of not being able to speak proper English. In my case I speak proper English and do not use slang in the work place and my friends are college educated, hip to the game, young Black people who know to adjust to their environment as well. I am speaking of African American dialect or accent on certain words which was a problem for my past boss. How many jobs have turned them down because of the way they pronounced certain words? It made me consider whether or not an… To read the rest, visit YeahSheSaidIt.