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African American Vernacular English (AAVE), also known as Black Vernacular English (BVA) or Ebonics, is a historic American dialect of English spoken by millions of people. It is part of our cultural DNA, with words and ways of speaking rooted in various African cultures, and English spoken in the southern states of the United States, with Creole influences.
This way of speaking has been around for a long time negative connotation associated with it. People who speak AAVE are uneducated and often seen as non-culturally compatible in workplaces controlled by the dominant culture. Many black people are punished for speaking in this country, but despite their education, achievements, and accolades, speaking AAVE can significantly reduce their professional potential. .
It can’t be. Speaking different dialects should not negate the professional influence, skills and values that workers bring. Companies that advocate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) while claiming to discriminate against languages and dialects should reconsider their stance on the subject.
I am working to change that. i help the organization Break down barriers with a human-centric approach and integrate DEIB into your business framework. Share how organizations like yours can become more aware of language and dialect bias to better achieve their DEI and inclusion goals.
Hire to “add” to the culture, not to “fit” it
Many AAVE speakers are often dismissed during the job interview process because they are not considered culturally “fit”. I have previously discussed the dangers of hiring for culture, but that language or dialect should not negate a person’s ability to contribute, add value, or participate in work life. is worth noting.
Rather than assuming that the status quo is the ideal culture for the company, the possibility of having someone on the team who speaks AAVE or another dialect or language to truly “add” to the company culture is very real. Please think about For example, someone who speaks AAVE may be able to bring new perspectives to company projects and dialogue. Alternatively, it may allow us to connect with diverse partners and stakeholders in ways that the dominant culture has never been successful with.Think outside the box about how someone’s language or dialect really affects you Strengthen Instead of “fitting” into your company culture,
Related: Avoiding the Sea of Sameness: How Culture-Focused Hiring Improves DEI
don’t judge a book by its cover
People who speak AAVE are often described as ‘ghetto’, ‘loud’ or ‘aggressive’, but this is often a misconception. A prime example is Louisiana State University basketball player Angel Reese, whose popularity has skyrocketed in recent weeks. She had to face dialects and gender prejudices in public.
Angel said, “I’m too hoodle.I’m too ghetto. If was a boy, you would say, “No one would say nun at all.” I was. Some consider it “ladylike” in the sport, while others call it something completely different.
Apply this same logic to your workplace. Even if workers do not speak exactly like other colleagues who represent the norms of the workplace culture, do they feel accepted and belong? or should it prevent employment in the first place?
DEI extends beyond skin and gender. Dialects and languages must not create a hostile atmosphere in which black workers are marginalized, marginalized, or subdued in their organizations because of the way they speak.
Related: Hire Like a Diversity Expert: 5 Key Qualities of an Inclusive Employee
Prejudice against people who speak AAVE also affects organizations
Did you know that? Fastest-Increase in entrepreneur population Are there black women in America? Black women have moved on to building their own empires rather than waiting to be embraced by organizations that show bias in their corporate culture.
Any organization that, consciously or unconsciously, biases its workforce based on the dialect of English spoken by its applicants, ultimately loses out. As mentioned earlier, dialect does not equate to intelligence, talent, or worth. Choosing not to hire a qualified candidate because they speak AAVE only encourages that talent to move their talent elsewhere, and in many cases organizations are at a loss in intelligence, innovation and growth. may become.
In this sense, prejudice not only hurts the person who experiences it, but it hurts the organization as well. This kind of prejudice makes anyone hesitate. So why not remove barriers to access, develop empathy and understanding of the different cultures that live within the United States, and view candidates through the lens of values, character, and contributions?
Related: 5 qualities of black talent that are overlooked in the workplace
Every time an organization admits a candidate who speaks a dialect of English that is not culturally standard, the organization loses money. Race, gender, ability, and other identifiers are all considered important parts of the DEI to drive organizational growth and innovation. But why are dialects and languages left out?
Those who experience the most prejudice are those who look and speak differently than those in the dominant culture. Sticking to the norm isn’t always the best or the only way. I call on organizations to broaden their definitions of belonging and values, and raise awareness of dialect bias.
HR departments and other groups involved in the recruitment process and talent management functions should put in place bias guardrails to oppress recruiters who may discriminate against potential employees based on their English dialect. . The economic and cultural costs are too high to ignore. AAVE is English and should be valued and viewed as such within an organization.