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Is the Communication Center Racist? An Inquiry into Black Linguistic Justice, Anti-Racism, and Assimilation

Nimisha Ladva


Given the continuing harm that racism produces in the U.S. and the world, as well as the increased interest in anti-racist work, this paper asks: Is the work of the communication center racist? In the absence of an anti-racist praxis in every hire, in every tutoring session, in every workshop, in every training, the short answer is “yes.” The communication center is racist because it is assimilationist. It expects the absence of Black Language and the presence and production of White Mainstream English (WME) in the work it does. In this paper, I offer the example of my own experience as someone engaged in communication work but who has not confronted, until now, the absence of Black Language in my own work. Black Language is not only a language equal to others, it is a living record of direct ties to African languages spoken by the first Blacks brought forcibly here as enslaved people. As such, Black Language deserves our attention. This attention must be part of an anti-racist communication center praxis.



anti-racist, assimilationist, Black Linguistic Justice, communication centers

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Communication Center Journal