Linguistic Profiling

Topics: Racism, American English, Race Pages: 3 (932 words) Published: June 29, 2014
John Baugh in his article “Linguistic Profiling” (2003) discusses “linguistic discrimination based on speech or writing” (2003, p. 155). The article discusses the negative and positive effects that linguistic profiling has on people, specifically on the people with an “undesirable accent or dialect” (2003, p.155). Much like racial profiling and its negative effects on people of color, linguistic profiling is the practice of imposing certain social characteristics on people who speak with a particular accent or dialect. As with racial profiling, linguistic profiling places certain stigmas on accents or dialects. Baugh begins by discussing discriminatory linguistic profiling, and the approval of its use by Judge Ito in the 1994 O.J. Simpson trial. This is quite the revelation, in that it condones the use of linguistic profiling as a valid part of legal proceedings. Ultimately, Judge Ito allows linguistic profiling to be used as evidence in the case. Baugh presents another case in which Justice Cooper of the Supreme Court of Kentucky allows the use of linguistic profiling as evidence. Justice Cooper states that “so long as the witness is personally familiar with the… accents or speech patterns of the race or nationality in question” (Baugh, 2003, p.158), the idea that one can identify someone’s race just by auditory cues alone is a valid submission to the evidence of a case. Justice Cooper’s validation of linguistic profiling is certainly revealing, as it validates discrimination towards people who speak with a particular accent or dialect. Baugh then goes on to discuss housing discrimination, and how landlords and property owners use linguistic profiling to determine a person’s race. His own experience confirms this, as he sought housing in the Palo Alto area. Seeking housing, he called several properties in search of housing and to make appointments. However, on four different appointments, he discovered that housing was no longer available. Baugh attributed...
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