In the upcoming motion picture ” introduced an experiment where he made hundreds of call to property owners who had noted houses in the San Francisco location. He greeted each proprietor with the exact same line: “Hello, I’m calling about the apartment you have marketed in the paper.” He didn’t always say it in the very same accent– he rotated between using an African-American accent, a Mexican-American accent, and his natural accent, what he called professional basic English.
He discovered that in white locations, proprietors were far less responsive to him when he used his black or Latino accent. In one mainly white neighborhood, proprietors used to reveal him the apartment 70% of the time when he utilized his standard-English voice, but less than 30% of the time when he spoke in a black or Latino dialect.
Baugh’s research proved that racism extends even more than just in person interactions.
“For people who felt that they had been the victims of linguistic discrimination, they mored than happy to see it,” he told Organisation Insider. “And it was the kind of affirmation of like, well, we understood this all along. We understood it. We just didn’t know that it could be shown scientifically.”
Can you really tell someone’s race based on their voice?
Language and ethnic background are closely linked, the concept that one can “sound white” or “sound black” has stirred controversy in the past. It came up in the OJ Simpson murder case, when Johnnie Cochran memorably Urban Institute think tank has actually revealed. Now, instead of declining them over the phone, Baugh said brokers will often go through the procedure of having them fill out applications and approving them appointments prior to ultimately rejecting them, making it harder to take legal action.
“One of the unintentional effects of the research was that for those that wanted to discriminate, they realized, ‘Oh, I ‘d much better be a little more advanced than just merely informing people no.'”
For Baugh, the concern goes far beyond reasonable real estate– it cuts to the heart of the American identity.
“A number of the individuals who engage in linguistic profiling and linguistic discrimination are descendants of individuals that came from someplace where English is most likely not spoken. And some of their ancestors at one time, whether they originated from Italy, Germany, Vietnam, or the Philippines, went through a form of linguistic discrimination,” Baugh said.
“Accepting others who speak different than you do can possibly be an action toward recovery divisions in the nation.”