Encoding the Switch: Some Reflections on Cultural Miscegenation and Post-Racialism in Black Popular Culture

Codes of Conduct - Code Switching and the Everyday Performance of Identity - K. Merinda Simmons

James Braxton Peterson [+-]
Lehigh University
James Braxton Peterson is the Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. He is also the founder of Hip Hop Scholars, LLC, an association of Hip Hop generational scholars dedicated to researching and developing the educational potential of youth cultures. Peterson is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, a Contributor to TheGrio.com, and he has written opinion pieces for BET.com and The Daily Beast. He is currently an MSNBC contributor and has appeared on MSNBC, Al- Jazeera, CNN, HLN, Fox News, and various local television networks as an expert on race, politics, and popular culture.

Description

This essay explores the primary predicament of the sociolinguistic code-switcher: that speakers who are considered outside of mainstream Standard American English (SAE) speech communities engage in practices of code-switching in order to subvert and navigate linguistically oppressive social forces. Through several examples of code-switching in contemporary Black popular culture (including performative speech events from The Boondocks and lyrics written and performed by Lupe Fiasco), encoded iterations of the practice often referred to as codeswitching unveil some significant sociolinguistic findings. One important insight explored here is that code switching is one example of the practices that Herman Gray (2004) refers to as a cultural moves. Thus the ‘switch’ itself engenders certain codes and cultural practices even as code-switching speakers shift between and amongst certain sociolinguistic registers.

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Citation

Peterson, James. Encoding the Switch: Some Reflections on Cultural Miscegenation and Post-Racialism in Black Popular Culture. Codes of Conduct - Code Switching and the Everyday Performance of Identity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Sep 2019. ISBN 9781781791844. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24864. Date accessed: 26 Aug 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24864. Sep 2019

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