Normalizing #nativespeakerism? Not on my watch

#raciolingustics #nativespeakerism #linguisticdiscrimination in two latest @RandyRainbow videos-Why I ❤️ his satire, but I have to call this one out

Sociolinguistic diaries…

Is it only me or what? 😠🙄
I’m all for satirizing politics. Those who know me would know that I sure enjoy a good laugh at expense of less than deserving politicians or their spouses.

So what is my problem with the last two Randy videos? (Desperate Cheeto and Interview with Melania)

Easy. He builds on language and identity attached to Spanish speakers or learners of English to build his jokes, not on the bad traits we should focus on. I will write more about the Desperate Cheeto video, but for now, let me tackle the interview with Melania.

In this video, Randy attacks Melania’s lack of knowledge about politics, ignorance, or inaction THROUGH language. That is, he accomplish most of his attacks by making fun of her English.

No big deal, right?

Well, think twice. Putting at the center the way someone speaks their second language or another language further promotes an ideology of nativespeakerism that puts only the ideal speaker (accent and error – free English) as respectable, and equates lack of “ideal” language knowledge with lack of intelligence.

Many of us who speak “imperfect” English live this linguistic discrimination everyday. We seldom get taken seriously because we have an accent, or because we can’t conjugate a verb right. We are treated as stupid, etc.

So please Randy, there are so many things you can satirize about Melania, but her accented English should not be one of them. Otherwise, what? Is it now ok to treat badly, consider unintelligent those who can’t speak English a certain way? An unaccented way?

If you check all the comments on YouTube and on Facebook, people are attacking her English because it is not “perfect,” “good enough,” even “un-American” (whatever that is). It promotes an ideology of separation of “US” vs “THEM,” which is detrimental for acceptance and understanding of others.

I do not like Melania at all, but I hate to see that in the hope of having a laugh about the current political climate, we continue to deepen denigrating language ideologies we have about non-native speakers of a language and allow for other more subtle ways of discrimination. 😒

Here is the video I’m referring to

Published by Dr. C

Assistant Professor at UTSA, sociolinguist, discourse analyst, digital literacy and bilingualism researcher, online ethnographer, and more!

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