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Young black professionals like Lucrece Grehoua are used to changing their voice, accent and mannerisms when they enter white-majority spaces. But should they really have to?

Like many young black people, Lucrece Grehoua is an expert in code-switching - used to changing her voice, accent and mannerisms when she enters white-majority spaces. But should she really have to? In this programme, Lucrece reveals the cost of hiding who we really are in the workplace and explores the mechanics of code-switching, a term first used to describe the experience of African-American students in the 1970s. She shares her own story of being taught to become “a palatable black girl with a soft voice and an unceasing smile”. And she talks to other young professionals about the steps they’ve taken to fit in – from adopting a “white voice” in the office to changing how they behave and switching up their look. We also hear from those who, tired of code-switching, are daring to be themselves in the corporate world.

Lucrece speaks to:
Her friends Emmanuel Ajayi, Cheryl Jordan Osei and Ivan
Her Mum and brother Steve
Criminal barrister Leon Nathan Lynch
Sociolinguist Devyani Sharma from the Accent Bias Britain Project
Nels Abbey, author of Think Like a White Man, A Satirical Guide to Conquering the World While Black
Elizabeth Bananuka, founder of BME PR Pros and The Blueprint
Social Mobility Commissioner and lawyer Sandra Wallace

Picture Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 30 Aug 2020 17:00


  • Tue 25 Aug 2020 20:00
  • Sun 30 Aug 2020 17:00