“In Toulouse, you have a melodious accent” or “It’s cute, this accent” but also “Hey, but you talk like a good man” We have all heard this type of remark at least once. Sentences that Elatiana Razafi qualify as “linguistic micro-aggressions”. Lecturer in sociolinguistics, didactics of plurilingualism and artistic mediations at the Jean-Jaurès University of Toulouse, she led a project with students from various sectors as part of a course in didactics of French as a foreign language (FLE) around of this question.
“It starts from something emotional. I want to participate in building the confidence of students who speak several languages and sometimes stigmatizing accents. Working on the language is a way of touching the person,” she explains. “These remarks take place in the school, family or circle of friends… This has a real impact on the image one has of oneself. Because of these reflections, an individual can be made to keep quiet, to change their accent, to feign another identity in some way. And this also leads to a homogenization, a standardization of the language. »
The exhibition proposed at the Maison de la Recherche of the Toulouse University, from May 23 to June 16, is inspired by work she had already done with students in New Caledonia, “where the myth of the speaker native, speaker of an ideal language, is always very strong”.
Photo and graffiti against linguistic “micro-aggressions”
Since January, around fifty students have immersed themselves in their experience to produce 17 works that combine photography and graffiti, thanks to the participation of photographer David Siodos and graffiti artist Réso. “Several barriers had to be removed,” admits Elatiana Razafi, who is also a researcher at the Laboratory for Studies and Applied Research in the Social Sciences (Lerass). But everyone dared, found an experience to share. It is a path of deconstruction of stereotypes. »
Emma, one of the students who participated in this project, confirms. “It’s very destabilizing. And very complicated if you are not confident. “Lacking a significant example with his partner, they finally questioned the intentions of the people who make these remarks and the gendered aspect. “We sometimes hear that we speak like a boy or like a girl, which implies a certain sexual orientation,” explains Emma.
By breaking the codes, this exhibition, also supported by the Center for artistic initiatives of Mirail, Nathalie Spanghero-Gaillard (Lerass), aims to fight against discrimination by raising awareness of the impact of these “linguistic micro-aggressions “. An approach that also has a professional training aim. “Most of these students will be teachers. And they will be better able to handle these situations. »