In the Buddhist teaching, Upajjhatthana Sutta, there are five remembrances for contemplation. The one I…
Let’s talk about auditory bias, shall we?
This is happening every day as we categorize people by voice alone.
- Is this person like me?
- Can I tell where they are from?
- Can I tell if they are Black, or Southern, an Immigrant, or Queer?
- And the one that has been with us the longest: Is it a Woman?
No surprise here, but for most people this profiling is unconscious. So the disruption must take a form of curiosity rather than accusation. Are you valuing the voices in your circle? Do you really listen to people? When someone calls or speaks in a space, are you making assumptions about who they are based upon how they speak? Do you actually actively criticize voices, rather than content?
Just thinking about these questions, will make you more aware of how you are processing vocal differences. It also reflects back to you. People who regularly criticize voices, for example, are also unlikely to voice publicly as often. Such as people who watch singing shows religiously, but never sing themselves.
Disrupting aural biases is a big ask. It is one of the most baked-in perceptions we carry but our progress as verbal communicators, and as humans, requires it. Be gentle, be persistent, be brave.
Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.