What you say vs. how you say it?

NPR has a fascinating interview with psych prof Katherine Kinzler on how language creates or enables and supports discrimination. And it starts right away in young children. The main interview is audio, but there are excerpts below the player.

On the issue of speech discrimination

For people who speak in what others perceive as being a non-native or a non-standard way of speaking, often that can feel as if people are judging you. And in fact, people might be judging you. But so much of our understanding of communication is bidirectional. It’s about the listener, too. And so there’s a lot of evidence that when somebody doesn’t like the way somebody’s speaking, or thinks that they’re speaking in the wrong way, they can shut down as a listener and stop trying to listen. And so in that sense, people can really overlook qualified people in employment contexts and in many different contexts in life, because they think they’re not doing a good job communicating, when in fact the person listening might not be doing a good job listening.

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