The Accent Coach Discusses the Dangers in How Media and Hollywood Portray Accents
07/11/2018

Accents often have stereotypes attached to them. Hollywood has capitalized on this idea and created characters that fit with people's ideas of accents

Online PR News – 11-July-2018 – Vero Beach, FL – Accents often have stereotypes attached to them. Hollywood has capitalized on this idea and created characters that fit with people's ideas of accents, according to Claudette Roche, the Accent Coach. Everything from cartoons to dramas and adventure films to romances have characters from all over the world, but one thing many of them have in common is how they portray certain people based on their accents. The messages that viewers receive could be dangerous for people in real life.

She is concerned about the message this gives to people who originate from a specific region and have the same accent. They may begin to see themselves as dumb or incompetent or worry that others will reject them because of how they speak.

Many times, villains are played by characters who have a more guttural accent. For example, Germans and Russians are often the bad guys while Mexicans are the gangsters or street thugs. Even those within the same country may be cast in different roles based on the region where they come from. A person with a Southern accent may be given a comedic role where they mess up or have a mishap that sets the plot. The underlying message is often that they are less intelligent than their peers. The heroes are often American, but they may be British or Australian as well. These accents are popular with more viewers and often carry a positive image for fans.

Roche is concerned about the limits placed on actors based on their accents. In fact, many times, actors must hire an accent reduction coach to help them lose their accent so they can be cast in more roles. A British actor may work to sound "more American" so they can get the lead in popular films. In other cases, an accent may be made more pronounced to enhance a character role because it fits with the stereotyped image.

"Often a person speaks in a heavier accent to appear different from the other characters," Roche says. "The accent draws attention to them and whatever attribute the directors want them to portray." She is concerned about the message this gives to people who originate from a specific region and have the same accent. They may begin to see themselves as dumb or incompetent or worry that others will reject them because of how they speak.

"It also enhances the stereotypes of other people when characters are portrayed in a certain way in Hollywood because of their accent," Roche continues. "They may face ridicule and even hate just because of the way they talk." The news media is often guilty of the same issue as they label people by their ethnicity in crimes or scandals. Roche believes that it only serves to expand the divide that often already exists between cultures. She would like to see more diversity in the roles given to people of various accents so viewers can see good and bad characters played by all cultures. Her hope as an accent reduction coach is that people will be able to look past the accent and see the person when they aren't so easily identified by the way they speak. Hollywood is often the leader of change, and she hopes it can influence the way people look at different cultures by casting them in a more positive light.

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