OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (TheBlaze/AP) — Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee was fixin’ to host a class to teach some of its employees how to reduce their Southern accents, but after some deemed the class offensive, managers are calling the whole thing off.
The “Southern Accent Reduction” course was advertised as a way to feel confident in meetings, when one might need to speak with a more neutral accent. The class was touted as a way to “be remembered for what you say and not how you say it.”
Carolyn Ward of ORNL’s Learning and Development Services told the Knoxville News Sentinel that an employee requested the class, so it was offered for others too.
ORNL spokesman David Keim said the class “probably wasn’t presented in the right way” and managers decided to cancel it after other employees complained.
“Given the number of staff here who have Southern accents, this was clearly not received well,” Keim told Reuters, noting that with staff from many other countries and different states, it is common for the lab to host accent sources, but this was the first time the Southern accent was addressed.
“If you have a researcher with a very thick accent, it benefits them to spend a few hours learning how to mitigate that,” Keim said.
Watch WSOC-TV’s report about the class being cancelled:
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