“Power Play: Race Performance at the Margins”
K. Merinda Simmons [+]
University of Alabama
This essay addresses code-switching as a careful, though often unconscious, way of identifying spheres of dominance and power. Whether the aim is to subvert or authorize particular power structures, performing certain social scripts--or “codes”--establishes one’s participation in a group. Thus, code-switching is not a by-product of marginalization but rather a universal practice (albeit to varying degrees in different contexts) by which social actors identify “dominant” and “marginal” groups. I will press this argument through an analysis of “postblackness” and the ways in which race and politics are mediated in the American South.