The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
Superboy777
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

Employers should be allowed to discriminate against candidates with regional accents

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/20/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,340 times Debate No: 14443
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (11)
Votes (5)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Many organisations wishing to employ customer-facing staff take many factors into consideration, including: physical appearance; personal hygiene; dress sense; manners and etiquette; charisma and, very importantly, accent.

Now, all of the above, with the exceptions of his or her physical appearance and accent are, to a great degree, within the personal control of the candidate.

Clearly, the candidate's physical appearance is the aspect over which he or she has least control, but if even one is fat one can always lose weight by eating less and exercising more, and if one was unfortunate enough to be born with a face like a dropped pie, one can always opt for cosmetic surgery. Similarly, if one has a strong accent one can have elocution lessons.

You see, there are certain jobs and professions where employers would prefer their staff to have neutral, if not refined, accents. These include:

Lawyers
Bank Managers
Doctors
TV News Readers
Sales Directors of multinational corporations
Antiques Experts for auctioneers such as Sotheby's or Bonhams
Customer Service Managers for firms such as Rolls-Royce, Sunseeker Yachts and Harrods

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't jobs for people with accents. There are lots of firms that would positively welcome front-of-house staff with certain regional accents, for example:

Employer – Preferred Accent
----------------------------------
Pizza Hut - Italian
Taco-Bell – Mexican
Burger King - Bronx
KFC - Hillbilly
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagels R Us – Yiddish
Anatolian Ahmed's Kebab House – Turkish
Manze's Eels, Pie and Mash Shops - Cockney
Hong Kong Garden Chinese Take-Away - Cantonese
Harry Ramsden's Famous Fish ‘n' Chip Shops - Yorkshire
Royal Taj Curry House – Indian
Bistro de Croissants et du Stinking Fromage – French

It would be ridiculous if a fitness club advertising for a salesperson had to employ an obese person to avoid discriminating against gravitationally-challenged people and it would be equally ridiculous if De Beers on New York's 5th Avenue had to employee someone who sounded like a clod-hopping country bumpkin to avoid discriminating against people with regionally-compromised enunciation.

Therefore, I reaffirm that employers should be allowed to discriminate against candidates with regional accents.

Thank you.
Superboy777

Con

I as the con side must say that employers should not be allowed to discriminate against accents. We live in a society that has improved significantly from the racist, sexist one we lived in previously. If a job application were to say, FEMALES NOT ALLOWED, then society would shun said advertisement without thinking twice. On the other hand, if an advertisement were to discriminate against accents, then it brings up an interesting point. Is it in the same category as sexism and racism? My opponent brings up the fact that one with a strong accent can have elocution lessons to improve the accent. In [1], the article brings up the fact that a person can have a perfect pronunciation, have an astounding vocabulary yet still be discriminated because of an accent they cannot change. Elocution-study of formal speaking in pronunciation, grammar, style, and tone. Someone could be very strong in all these categories yet still have a very obvious accent. Thus, a person does not have control over their accent just as they do not have control of their parents nor where they live and what the first language they learn is.

My essential argument is that discriminating solely based on someone's accent is the same as discriminating based on race and sex. People cannot choose their skin color nor can they choose their gender. If one reads [1], they can understand and see how a person could have amazing skills at the art of rhetoric yet still be stuck with an accent. This is not their choice. My opponent (comments section) says that this discrimination can go to job advertisements that very bluntly say that the fat need not apply. Or if using accents, those with foreign accents please stay away. The resolution that my opponent states is that employers should be allowed to discriminate against those with accents and later clarifies in the comments section that this discrimination can go bluntly on ads. My opponent then states in his argument that not discriminating against accents is equivalent to fitness clubs being obliged to allow an obese person to be on their ads. I as the con side am not stating that employers should have to employ people with accents but however, they should be fair to these people and look at their skills and qualifications and how easy they can be understood.

If said person could be understood, and was the most appropriate person for the job, then I firmly stand by the choice of De Beers to allow someone that may sound like a clod-hopping country bumpkin, but is skilled at rhetoric and can be easily understood despite said accent. This is why I believe that discrimination against accents is just as severe as racism or sexism because an accent is not something that one can control. People with accents can be understood clearly and have excellent vocabulary. If the resolution were instead about people who cannot be understood, then I would be on the pro side. My opponent assumes that an accent is equivalent to not being understood. I as the con side have given a firm rebuttal to that.

-Thank you

[1]http://www.thestarphoenix.com...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

With many thanks to Superboy777 for accepting this challenge.

I accept my opponent's interpretation of my argument that the issue is about being understood, although I was also arguing it is about the social stigmas attached to regional accents, which some would perceive as snobbery and entrenching class stereotypes.

Please play the attached YouTube clip of the comedian Bobby Thompson who delivers his act in his native Geordie accent (Geordies are people from Tyneside, an industrial area of North East of England).

How much of his act do you understand? I doubt anyone but a Geordie would be able to fully understand him – please let me know if I'm wrong! However, he is speaking perfectly correct English, just with a regional accent that's all.

I chose these videos carefully, by the way. Firstly because Bobby Thomson based his character "The Little Waster" on my own grandfather (I'm also a waster – I can't help it, it's in my blood!) and, secondly, because I am also a Geordie and used to have a Geordie accent, although I now speak with a standard English accent (which some people unkindly describe as "posh").

The reason I lost my accent was that I moved to the South of England when I was a child and nobody could understand my Geordie accent there. I, therefore, had to moderate my accent so that they did. Nevertheless, even when I left school I still had a distinct Geordie twang but, through the process of mixing with people who spoke with refined English accents I unconsciously adopted their manner of speech.

If I had not done so, I would not have been able to conduct business and would also have suffered from people's automatic assumption that industrial accents are associated with undereducated, working class people.

Now, that perception may be unfair, but, nevertheless it exists and businesses whose customers are typically educated and wealthy will want their staff to look and sound as if they come from the same social background, not only so they are understood, but also so the client feels comfortable.

That's why firms should be allowed to discriminate against people with regional accents.

Thank you.
Superboy777

Con

I ask my opponent to not take any offense to the following. I will be taking his argument and changing some words in it to express how it is unjust to discriminate against employees based on accent.

"Now, that perception may be unfair, but, nevertheless it exists and businesses whose customers are typically educated and wealthy will want their staff to look and sound as if they come from the same social background, not only so they are understood, but also so the client feels comfortable at the fact that the race of them and the person their talking to is the same.

That's why firms should be allowed to discriminate against people of another race."

If one reads the above, I think that nearly everyone will find it blatantly racist and see that the logic does not make sense. I believe that employers should not be allowed to discriminate based on accent in a help wanted. If a person could not be understood, then that is a different matter but if a person only has an accent, then discrimination should be forbidden on help wanted ads simply because it is on the same level as racism and sexism.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sky_ace25 6 years ago
Sky_ace25
Con is making the right arguments but he/she needs to learn to warrant them better and present them in a clearer fashion. I feel Con did have the upper hand after reading the entire first round, but his ideas were presented in such a convoluted fashion that I couldn't clearly understand his/her arguments. Pro makes good appeals to humor, but I didn't see any strong refutation of Con's points or a definitive reason to vote for Pro coming off the second round. Therefore, I vote a tie.
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
RFD:

Spelling/Grammar: Pro, self explanatory
Arguments: Pro, explained in great detail how accent affects the work place, people's perception, etc. Con just argued that he thought this was racist or sexist, but really had no legit arguments.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
f/a/o Dr. Strangeluv: Burger King = Boyger King = Bronx! It's from a TV commercial that was shown in the UK, probably never aired in the US.
Posted by SurvivingAMethodology 6 years ago
SurvivingAMethodology
I don't think it is right to equate something that you can change (accent) with something you can't (race). Frankly, I think it is an insult to the Civil Rights movement to do so.
Posted by DrStrangeLuv 6 years ago
DrStrangeLuv
the Pro's round one made me lol.

"Pizza Hut - Italian
Taco-Bell – Mexican
Burger King - Bronx
KFC - Hillbilly"

lots of stereotyping there, but how do you associate BK and bronx accents?
Posted by Greyparrot 6 years ago
Greyparrot
In a free market, an employer has the right to refuse service.

There are already alot of laws that severely hampers this right.
Posted by Curious22 6 years ago
Curious22
Are there any laws in place that are in place that prevent accent discrimination?
Posted by thegodhand 6 years ago
thegodhand
Only 2 rounds?
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
F/A/O Superboy.

You can interpret "discriminate" as you will (to be honest, this is just a fun debate) but you might consider the following parody of a job advertisement:

===============================

Eggleston's Executive Travel Services currently has a vacancy for a Business Development Manager.

Educated to post-graduate level, the successful candidate will have a track record of no less than five years in business travel sales and be able to demonstrate a proven ability to acquire new corporate clients.

A second European language would be an advantage, but it is essential that applicants talk all posh and that.

The fat need not apply.
===============================

Could that lead to a legal action being taken against the advertiser do you think?
Posted by 1stLordofTheVenerability 6 years ago
1stLordofTheVenerability
This is going to be an interesting and utterly amusing debate. Unfortunately, I haven't the time.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Sky_ace25 6 years ago
Sky_ace25
brian_egglestonSuperboy777Tied
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Vote Placed by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
brian_egglestonSuperboy777Tied
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Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
brian_egglestonSuperboy777Tied
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Vote Placed by SurvivingAMethodology 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by nhq 6 years ago
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brian_egglestonSuperboy777Tied
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