No AccessAmerican Journal of Speech-Language PathologyResearch Article10 Mar 2022

Making Race Visible in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences: A Critical Discourse Analysis


    The purpose of this critical discourse analytic study is to identify how two key professional standards documents in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences field—the Standards for Certification document and the Essential Functions rubric—contribute to the discursive construction of the ideal speech-language pathologist and audiologist, and to examine whether the experiences and needs of people of color are taken into consideration in these documents.


    Critical discourse analysis was used as both a conceptual and methodological lens for the systematic analysis of the targeted text.


    The findings show that considerations of race and racism were almost entirely absent from both documents and thus reflected a discourse of race neutrality that is ideologically consistent with color-blind racism. The enactment of racially coded expectations within a construct of race-neutral discourse maintains racial inequities in the speech, language, and hearing sciences professions.


    The findings highlight the need for the open acknowledgment of racism in our institutional policies and discourses and official and ongoing commitments to concrete and measurable antiracist actions to counteract systemic racism. Recommendations for and examples of antiracist measures are offered.


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