Court reporter

Court Reporters Are Writing Testimonies of Black People Wrong: Study

Testifying while Black already carries heavy difficulties and obstacles. Now, there’s one more – a new study, which will be published in the journal Language next month, has found that court reporters say they have difficulty “understanding Black people” when they speak African American English (AAE).

It all started after the trial for the killer of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Rachel Jeantel testified in 2013 because he was on the phone with Martin just moments before he was murdered.

Jeantel was degraded in the media as “brutally ignorant” and having a “credibility problem.” But in reality, Jeantel is not ignorant – white people chose not to understand her.

A juror on the case told Anderson Cooper that she found Jeantel “hard to understand” and “not credible.”

After watching what happened in response to Jeantel’s testimony, researchers got together to study the frequency with which AAE is misunderstood in courtrooms.

The study found that court reporters often don’t understand and write correctly testimonies spoken in AAE, which leads to terrible consequences. The transcripts are what’s used by the jury to come to a verdict and attorneys use these transcripts to plan cross-examinations.

The study, called “Testifying while black: An experimental study of court reporter accuracy in transcription of African American English,” found that on average, the 27 court reporters who participated were only able to record AAE speakers with 82.9 percent accuracy.

The study also found that in 31 percent of the 2,241 transcriptions done during the research, the court reporters’ errors changed the entire contents of what the speaker was saying, misinterpreting who was involved, what was happening, when it happened, and/or where it happened.

Considering these new findings, it’s no surprise that Black Americans are far more likely to be arrested and convicted and face longer prison sentences than white Americans.

“AAE has more complicated grammar than ‘standard’ English,” Taylor Jones, one of the study’s authors and a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, told Vice Media. “[But] research consistently demonstrates that non-speakers of AAE (generally but not always non-Black people) tend not to understand these features. AAE is stigmatized, despite being equally valid, systematic, and rule-governed as other language varieties.”

Latest News

Novartis Chief Medical Officer John Tsai on Balancing Medical Innovations With Patient Needs

Originally published at novartis.com by Elizabeth Dougherty. John Tsai is Novartis’ Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   John Tsai’s career as a physician, and now as Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer for Novartis, had an unlikely…

Novartis Collaborates With Microsoft To Innovate Medicine Through Data and Artificial Intelligence

Originally published on LinkedIn. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   “We are not just discoverers. We actually create molecules that have never been made before.” Says Karin Briner, Head of Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). By collaborating with Microsoft and augmenting the expertise of our…

Mastercard Announces Launch of Crescent City Card Program in Partnership With New Orleans and MoCaFi

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by executives from Mastercard, Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi), and Forward Together New Orleans to announce the Crescent City Card Program. The program involves a…

Mastercard on Supporting Inclusive and Sustainable Urban Development by Expanding Its ‘City Possible’ Network

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Mastercard has continued to expand its support for addressing urban challenges and inequalities, working with city leaders and partners around the world, through the City Possible™ network and capabilities. The unique solutions…

Pinterest app

Pinterest Enacting New Company-Wide DEI Initiatives Following Gender and Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Following a lawsuit led by the General Treasurer of Rhode Island, social media company Pinterest has announced that it will be enacting a series of new diversity, equity and inclusion workplace reforms to settle a recent lawsuit against them. Patrick Anderson of The Providence Journal reported that “the reforms are…