The Business of Accent Reduction and Interest Divergence
Indeed, this interest divergence is first seen in how accent reduction programs treat foreign accents as pathological traits. That is, by framing the employment troubles of racialized immigrants as solely caused by their accents, these programs ignore the structural racism that truly disadvantage these immigrants. Moreover, the particular pathologizing of racialized accents serves as a cue for the need to subscribe to White linguistic norms, thereby alleviating White native English speakers’ burden to understand varying types of foreign-accented speech. Interest divergence is lastly seen in the targeted clientele for accent reduction, who are highly-skilled racialized professionals in such White-dominated fields as business and technology and not racialized immigrants in low-paying service and care work. These examples all highlight that while accent reduction programs promote their services as a means for inclusion and equality in the North American workplace, they covertly communicate the opposite message.
Gillborn, D. (2013). Interest-divergence and the colour of cutbacks: Race, recession and the undeclared war on black children. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34(4), 477-491.