8 comments on “Code Switch-A-Roo: The Challenge of Being Black and Professional

  1. I can relate, and think I code-switch adeptly. But, I’ve lived in Bougieland for so long that my encounters with folks from the ‘hood are infrequent. I do, however, find myself code-switching with my students, and I teach at a predominately-White, college preparatory school. So, code-switching, while often racialized, also takes place across other cultural intersections. Now, you’ve got me contemplating a blog post re: code-switching in my own corner of the universe. LOL!

  2. Great post, Dre. Very funny and close to home. One thing, though: I think it is important not to conflate language choice, stylistic variation and code-switching. I don’t think you did that here, but it has happened in other conversations about code-switching. Just my two cents.

  3. Thanks for sharing what many of us I believe have experienced. When I was reading this, my thoughts immediately went to interview situations. Everytime I answer a question with my “proper voice” I feel like I’m selling myself out.

    • Being familar with the term code switching, i do agree with the statement that Afican Americans are told to stop talking “white” which is said to be the proper way to talk. I can disagree and agree with that statement. Code switching to me comes down to how educated you are and your culture. A lot of people would not talk to an educated person as the same way they would thier buddies. Different settings and differdent people you talk to differently. Code switching can also be used to describe whites trying to act/talk black. Whites began to hang around blacks and want to eventually talk like them.

  4. Hey Dre,
    Being pale like Kelly Clarkston, I ain’t never had to fold my whiteness. Sure, ocassionally when I’m pimping my home ground on the North End, I’ll slide into a little Ebonics. But that’s just how I roll when up with the brothers. Ain’t no thing.

      • Hey Dre,
        Jeez, I throw you an underhand soft pitch and I get a “blank stare”? I thought fer sure you would say that was the worst “white guy trying to talk black ever.”

  5. Ha, I love this post.

    I’m not sure it falls into the same category, but I found that a lot of immigrant kids do this too. I remember being over a friend whose family is from Trinidad (whom I had known for around two years at the time and had never noticed to have an accent before). It was weird, whenever she spoke to me she spoke with the voice I was used to hearing her speak, but whenever she addressed someone in her family, even a sibling her own age (who I also never knew to have an accent) they had island accents. I noticed the same thing with friends with family from other places as well and have been told that my accent switches when I am talking to my immediate family.

    It’s interesting to me that in you seem to be acutely aware of what is going on. I would have just blurted out whatever I needed to communicate with said person, and then been met with stares once I hung up.

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