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  • Marc Greenberg

Are Philly Court Reporters Accurate With Black Dialect?

There are times in court when Qawi Abdul-Rahman, a Center City-based defense attorney, gets the sense that folks listening didn’t understand a piece of testimony. “You get it all the time, truthfully,” Abdul-Rahman said. He’s been concerned that the true meaning of statements like “I don’t fool with them” glide past the ears of listeners who aren’t black. The unaware might think the speaker has a problem with someone. But saying this doesn’t necessarily imply hard feelings — it means the speaker isn’t really in someone’s circle. Along with lapses in comprehension, Abdul-Rahman has observed persisting biases around how African Americans speak: “The system keeps perpetuating the same faulty norms about us. ”New research confirms his hunch. For a forthcoming study in the journal Language, researchers evaluated how well Philadelphia court reporters transcribe.....MORE

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