Save

The Work of Code Switching

Implications for Gender and Racial Inequality in Employment

In: Religion and Theology
Author: Jackie Krasas1
View More View Less
  • 1 Lehigh UniversityUSABethlehem
Full Access

Abstract

Although the term “code switching” arose in linguistic contexts, its meaning has broadened to include shifting the use of language, interactions, appearance, and the body in all areas of social life. Uncritical applications of the concept render invisible the normative nature and power dynamics along familiar dimensions of social inequality such as gender and race. “Whiteness” and “maleness” often become cast as the neutral standards against which all else is judged and are rarely revealed as the social constructions that they are. The result is the call for non-dominant groups to assimilate. In employment, we see this call for assimilation often under the guise of “soft skills,” with particular reference made to the needs of a postindustrial service-oriented labor market. Cast in terms of skill, the heightened demand for code switching in employment promises to reproduce and even intensify existing labor market inequalities along the lines of gender and race.

Abstract

Although the term “code switching” arose in linguistic contexts, its meaning has broadened to include shifting the use of language, interactions, appearance, and the body in all areas of social life. Uncritical applications of the concept render invisible the normative nature and power dynamics along familiar dimensions of social inequality such as gender and race. “Whiteness” and “maleness” often become cast as the neutral standards against which all else is judged and are rarely revealed as the social constructions that they are. The result is the call for non-dominant groups to assimilate. In employment, we see this call for assimilation often under the guise of “soft skills,” with particular reference made to the needs of a postindustrial service-oriented labor market. Cast in terms of skill, the heightened demand for code switching in employment promises to reproduce and even intensify existing labor market inequalities along the lines of gender and race.

1 Code Switching in Linguistics

Code switching is a term that has its origins in linguistics.1 Switching codes, or languages, dialects, or tones happens in a bilingual and multilingual context. Individuals mix language within a conversation sometimes consciously, sometimes without thought for a variety of reasons; to better convey a thought, to persuade, to emphasize group membership, when there is no direct translation for a word or concept, to evoke emotion, or to strongly make a point. For example, in a prior workplace of mine that had a large Filipino-American population, the informal rules of communication required Filipino-Americans to speak Tagalog with each other. Those who did not were seen as “stuck up.” However, workers who did not speak Tagalog were known to comment (often with an air of suspicion or irritation) that the code switching behavior was “rude” or exclusionary. It was not unusual, for example, for my friends and coworkers to switch into Tagalog temporarily while talking to me if another Filipino-American entered the conversation or interrupted with a quick question. Indeed I found this switching very confusing until one friend explained the reasoning to me.

Code switching can also be observed in the phenomenon of naming a hybridized language, that is, informal mixtures of two languages (Hinglish, Franponais, Spanglish). Traveling with a group in India, I recall my Hindi speaking colleagues using this mixture of language in a way that eased situations that might otherwise have been difficult even though everyone started out speaking English. For example, it is always handy to have someone who can pop in and out of both languages when navigating the seating and luggage of a 9-person delegation or moving a meeting location at the last minute due to construction noise. Code switching in the form of hybridized language has even made its way into advertising. A Domino’s Pizza ad in India asks, “Hungry, Kya?” Dr. Pepper uses Spanglish, “23 sabores blended into one extraordinary taste.” Code mixing is also prevalent in Hong Kong advertisements.2

2 Social/Cultural Studies and Code Switching

Although discussions of code switching emanate from linguistics, code switching as a concept has taken on a more expansive definition that moves well beyond its use in language. Within sociology, code switching can be understood within the broad frame of symbolic interaction, for example, with the tools of ethnomethodology or dramaturgy. Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical approach is exemplified by the phrase, “all the world’s a stage.”3 Specifically, code switching is a type of impression management,4 a “front” to use Goffman’s term that can be picked up or put down as necessary.

Code switching understood in this fashion highlights how we all participate in impression management as we move through the social world. Impression management includes props, dress/costume, language, voice, mannerisms, and will often vary depending on the audience. For example, my impression management varies from context to context (e.g., work vs. family) and whether I am interacting with students, colleagues, family members, friends, or strangers. When I was a brand new professor at age 30, I routinely wore suits to teach class. Those who have been in my class in recent years know that this is no longer true. I might call my daughter “dude!” but I would certainly never refer to our Dean that way. Switching ranges in the degree to which it is consciously undertaken. While my example of changing work attire was a more conscious shift, other shifts are less so. When I am visiting my mother in Philadelphia, I find myself saying “wooder” instead of “water” and “dese and dose” instead of “these and those.”

My examples here make it easy to understand the concept of code switching, but they offer a benign perspective that is devoid of power dynamics. Code switching should not be simply understood as a discursive practice in a relativistic sense. We may all code switch, but for some there is much at stake in code switching. Linguistic profiling and discrimination are real and can affect housing, employment, educational, and other opportunities.5

3 Examples in Popular Culture

There are many examples of code switching in popular culture that both broaden the concept and begin to make clear the power implications. In the 1984 Saturday Night Live skit by Eddie Murphy, “White Like Me,” Eddie Murphy goes undercover as a white man to see if he is treated differently. In order to pass as white, Murphy dons makeup, practices “talking white” by reading Hallmark cards, and learns how to walk like a white guy, telling us that “they clench their butt cheeks real tight.” Appearance, language, voice/accent, and movement all contribute to the code switch. The outcome of the experiment, being given free things, makes clear that there are material consequences to code switching.

Although most frequently discussed in relation to race, code switching does not only happen in racial terms. The concept is broadened further when used in relation to gender. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane star in The Birdcage, a 1996 film about a gay couple whose son is getting married to the daughter of an ultra-conservative senator.6 To impress the son’s in-laws-to-be, Lane who plays a beyond-stereotypical gay man (conflating gender and sexuality), must learn to “act like a man” so that he can pass as an uncle instead of Robin Williams’s partner. Williams coaches Lane on the finer points of masculinity with inspiration from John Wayne, sports banter, and how to “schmeer” bread. Language, voice, movement, and the expression of emotion are central to code switching in these scenes. Lane almost gets it right until he describes how he felt about a bad call in the Dolphins’ game, “How do you think I feel? Betrayed, bewildered … wrong response?”

Although rarely explicitly labeled as such, gendered code switching is often cast as a means of self-help for women who want to succeed in business. Books advise women to avoid uptalking, to drop the word “like” from their vocabulary, to lower their pitch, to stop using qualifiers (“you know what I mean?”), and to become adept at conversational interruption especially without apology (using “I’m sorry” to introduce a thought). The book, Code Switching: How to Talk so Men Will Listen, exemplifies this genre.7 Women’s self-help books walk the line between recognizing and reifying difference and acknowledging although not disrupting power relations.8

More recently we have an abundance of popular culture examples of code switching. The National Public Radio (NPR) blog “Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed” provides many excellent examples that include observations about President Obama (how he greets different people) and several skits from Key and Peele.9 Code switching is a theme that runs throughout Key and Peele’s comedy in skits like “Obama’s Anger Translator” and “Phone Call.” The comedy pivots on the notion that someone (e.g., President Obama) “acts white” in public but drops the front and speaks in African American vernacular when unobserved. In the series of “Obama’s Anger Translator” skits, President Obama speaks calmly, slowly, and rationally while his anger translator, Luther, speaks quickly and emotionally while gesticulating wildly.10 In the skit “Substitute Teacher,” the substitute states that he has “taught school for 20 years in the inner city” before calling role in which he mispronounces names like Blake, Denise, and Aaron.

In all of these examples, code switching is used as a mechanism to create humor. This humor is controversial or problematic at times and in some of these examples can seem to reify race and/or gender. However, this humor does something that uncritical applications of the concept of code switching do not. Uncritical applications of code switching render invisible the normative nature and power dynamics along familiar dimensions of social inequality such as gender and race. “Whiteness” and “maleness” often become cast as the neutral standards against which all else is judged and are rarely revealed as the social constructions that they are. These sketches, in contrast, reveal that the dominant or normative is actually encoded, constructed. Whites now have race; men now have gender. The unmarked category is visible.

Staying with this critical perspective, we can analyze different forms of English language: Southern American English, African American Vernacular English/Black English (AAVE), California English (TV English), Chicano English, Pittsburghese, Dutchy. Hierarchy manifests among these English varieties with implications for societal power configurations. Take for example, the Oakland Ebonics/Standard English controversy that came to a head in 1996. The district caused a firestorm by requesting funds from the federal government for bilingual education purposes, calling the language, ebonics, “genetically based.” The district’s revised position was to teach children Standard English using AAVE. The New York Times worried about “validating habits of speech that bar them from the cultural mainstream and decent jobs.”11 Jesse Jackson rejected the effort saying that it would make “slang talk a second language,” and was “teaching down” to students.12 Maya Angelou worried that “the very idea that African-American language is a language separate and apart could encourage young black students not to learn Standard English.” Conservative columnist, Debra Saunders, also criticized the district saying, “Apparently the board hasn’t noticed that many black students speak English just fine, thank you. Their parents may not want their kids forced into a linguistic ghetto.”13 An anti-Ebonics advertisement invokes Martin Luther King with the phrase “I has a dream” superimposed over an image of Dr. King turning his back.14 In the years following the controversy, several states passed laws making illegal the use of federal funds to teach Standard English using non-standard English like AAVE. Just as with the gender self-help guide, the debate over AAVE underscores the tension between recognizing and reifying difference and between acknowledging and disrupting power relations. How does one not reify “acting white” while disallowing whiteness to remain the invisible norm? How do we avoid stereotyping groups while allowing for the analysis of power, whiteness, and white supremacy?

4 Linking Code Switching and Soft Skills

The concept of code switching began to gain attention in employment, not surprisingly around the mid-1990s. Economists and sociologists were deep into discussions of a post-industrial society and the rise of the service sector in the United States of America within a global division of labor. Scholars imagined a world in which the intellectual work would be concentrated in the global North, filling the void of a lost manufacturing sector.15 The loss of manufacturing signals a need for a different set of skills, more social than technical. These are soft skills.

Philip Moss and Chris Tilly in their notable article “Soft Skills and Race: An Investigation of Black Men’s Employment Problems,” describe a rise in employer demands for soft skills within but also beyond service sector employment.16 Soft skills include abilities and traits that pertain to personality, attitude, and behavior rather than to formal or technical knowledge, and the term comes to encompass everything from language, accent, attire, and personal grooming to attitude, work ethic, and people skills. Soft skills, however, are at least partially socially constructed and reflect the practices and preferences of dominant groups such as the white, middle-class sociability required of temporary clerical workers.17

Employers stereotype groups and assume that job candidates from those groups reflect “truth” about those groups. They make hiring decisions in accordance with notions that Black men, for example, cannot code switch and do not have good soft skills. In this conversation, soft skills and code switching become conflated. Code switching is understood simply as one of the soft skills needed for the contemporary workplace. Even while acknowledging the subjectivity of soft skills, it is difficult to determine precisely where assessment of soft skills ends and racial bias (implicit or otherwise) begins. The following examples are quotes from employers in Moss and Tilly’s study that exemplify this tension.

There’s kind of a being cool attitude that comes with walking down the street a certain way and wearing your colors or challenging those who look at you wrong, and they come to work with an awful lot of baggage. And they have a very difficult time not looking for prejudice. If a supervisor gives him an instruction, they immediately look to see if it’s meant, if it’s said different to them because they’re Black. Or if something goes wrong in the workforce, they have a tendency to blame the race, their being Black.18

I think the Hispanic people have a very serious work ethic. I have a lot of respect for them. They take pride in what they do. Some of the Black folks that I’ve worked with do, but I’d say a majority of them are just there putting in the time and kind of playing around.19

In these quotes, the assessments by human resource professionals of the employment difficulties of Black employees and job candidates are thoroughly intertwined with pop culture images of the hard-working “Hispanic” and the Black male gang member. Increased attention to soft skills for all jobs means increased emphasis on interview impressions. However, we know that interviews as hiring tools are known to be highly problematic for increasing the opportunity for implicit bias to affect the outcome.20

It is, however, evident that if we recognize soft skills as cultural products, we can see how they are intertwined with and read through existing prejudices. Invoking a perceived lack of soft skills becomes an acceptable way of expressing racial bias.21 Code switching then becomes a means by which to correct deficits in soft skills. Moss and Tilly, for example, offer one partial remedy to Black men’s employment problems – teach code switching to inner city kids. In teaching code switching the problem is located within Black men rather than problematizing either dominant social conventions or employers’ biased perceptions of Black men’s soft skills.

Public policy can act on the supply side, through training and support services for young, inner-city Black men. Based on our findings, there should be a high payoff to programs that teach code switching to assist inner-city Blacks in bridging the cultural divide with employers.22

Racial power dynamics are elided through the framing of the problem in terms of simple cultural differences. Code switching now is the soft skill that must be taught. Note for whom code switching is mandatory, and whose codes and switches are rendered invisible and therefore are normalized. They become part of the mythical norm and remain unmarked.23

5 Code Switching/Soft Skills Programming

Programs to teach code switching might seem far-fetched at first until you begin to look at workforce development programs being implemented in various states, fed by the 1996 welfare reform acts. Examples of teaching code switching and soft skills proliferate in contemporary workforce development efforts. There is much discussion, for example, of “communities isolated from business culture” with people who must “learn code switching skills to navigate between the cultures of neighborhood and work.”24 Programs’ claims often point to social science literature that itself may be more or less critical of soft skills and code switching to highlight what amounts to a contemporary “culture of poverty” argument. The following quotes are in articles about workforce development or reports from foundations promoting workforce development:

“In the secular soft skills programs, students practiced handshakes and professionally greeting one another,” while faith-based programs incorporated Bible study.25

The following quote used by the Annie Casey Foundation oversimplifies William Julius Wilson’s work,26 reducing it to a culture of poverty argument.

The program found its philosophical genesis in the work of Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson, who theorizes that the emigration of employers and jobs from inner cities has left a void resulting in a lack of socialization and in social isolation of those left behind. Without examples to follow, inner-city residents cannot learn appropriate workplace behavior.27

The description of Elijah Anderson’s work that follows implies that inner city residents are not adept at code switching because they lack role models to teach them.

In the fields of sociology and anthropology, there is evidence that the environment is significant in the development of soft skills. For example, Elijah Anderson discusses “code switching” – the ability to speak and act differently in different situations – as a method that allows individuals who are raised in the inner city to perceive different “norms” that operate in other settings and to adjust their behavior accordingly. This capacity acknowledges differences between neighborhood and workplace culture. Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears, theorizes that one reason inner-city residents may lack soft skills is that, as jobs leave cities, workers left behind have no role models to follow. Thus, they never learn the art of code switching.28

Rather than identifying a deficit, Anderson’s work in fact, highlights the skillful fluidity of code switching in the inner city. In fact, a “premium is placed on being able to read public situations and then ‘code switch’ when appropriate.”29 His participants are experts in code switching. The simplification of these authors’ works in workforce development presents workplace inequalities as one mainly of individual failings.

The United States Department of Labor program for youth, “Soft Skills to Pay the Bills,” is an application of the fraught concept of code switching.

“Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,” is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.30

There are interesting racial representation choices made in the short video clips that are part of the Soft Skills video series. For example, the scenario on “enthusiasm and attitude” presents a sloppy “white dude,” complete with ripped jeans, ever-present ear buds, and his feet on the desk of the interviewer, a Black woman. He was late to the interview, addresses his potential employer as “dude,” and even answers a phone call in the middle of the interview. The scenario is replayed with the “white dude” now sporting a suit, a portfolio, extra resumes, and a firm handshake.31 The first version of the “white dude” exemplifies what Sears and Johnston (2010) called “wasted whiteness.”32 The wasted whiteness trope reveals anxiety about squandered white privilege, a kind of cautionary tale. The scenario talks about race by not talking about it, but by presenting “wasted whiteness” to a Black employer. The races of applicant and employer are deployed to erase systemic race privilege and disadvantage, and the solution resides in the white dude having enthusiasm and a good attitude, which is presented as an individual choice. The portrayal of the “white dude” is so hyperbolic, that it is easy to find oneself scoffing or laughing at the portrayal. The viewer is directed away from interrogating the interviewer’s perceptions of the job applicant, which now appear neutral and objective.

In a second video about communication, a Black teenage girl, talks in text speak as a representation of poor communication skills. She talks in abbreviations usually reserved for texting, and her accent recalls Valley Girl speak, an affectation of middle-class white girls in suburban Los Angeles in the 1980s. As a cashier, she manages to confuse every customer. She appears to be losing patience with their inability to understand her text speak when her supervisor approaches her. The supervisor explains the importance of communication and the young woman returns to her job, not only free of text speak, but also emulating white middle class sociability. Only briefly stumbling with, “Hi H-R-U (how are you),” she apologizes and quickly shifts to “May I help you?” rather than “Whatcha got?” as we saw address customers earlier.33

Her error is one of dialect or non-standard language rather than poor communication per se. The solution is for her to code switch to standard (non-text speak) language, in a move that depoliticizes language and dialect as it legitimizes code switching as the meant to achieving employment success. The clip thus acts to frame non-standard language as poor communication rather than language variation, obfuscating the power of the unmarked category (here, standard language). By deploying and problematizing “hyperwhiteness” like that of the character Hillary Banks with her Valley Girl accent in The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air, the producers put the imagery in the realm of race, but in an indirect way.34 Again, the story that is told gets to be about race without actually being about race.

The New Orleans Jobs Initiative provides a variety of workforce development workshops including some in partnership with the Urban League on the topic of code switching.35 These are described as providing “life-skills training on such topics as financial literacy and ‘code switching,’ which Washington describes as ‘knowing how to put on a different face when talking to a business person,’ as opposed to family and friends. ‘Many students and adults don’t understand that has to happen,’ she said.” Targeted toward “inner city” youth, these programs also reveal the racialized nature of “life-skills training.”

In their workforce development webinar,36 the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services presents a discussion scenario about an employee who refuses to follow the workplace rules, in this case the rule in question was a tacit rule, “Do what you are asked to do, even if you don’t want to.” The rule-breaking is redefined as a “cognitive conflict” and reframed as manifestation of cultural difference. “We have to help them switch from using the rules of their home life to using the rules of their work life.” Ultimately, the cultural difference is compared to refusing to drive on the correct side of the road in a different country, concluding, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

The webinar leader guides the group through a warm up exercise about “lingo” and “culture” by giving examples of terms and asking audience participation in translating their meaning. The examples provided are “baked,” “cheddar,” “flossin,” “gel,” and “grill.” Most of these terms can be readily identified, although not exclusively, with hip hop culture. (Note: the transcription actually spells a couple of these terms wrong!) In a move that de-racializes content that was just clearly racialized, the leader says, “It’s not a white thing or a black thing or a Latino thing; if anything, it’s an urban thing, or a young thing.” The targets of the help are othered,

For us to be of help in helping them connect with the world at work, we have to be able to connect with them first. So, this little workshop – this 90-minute session is going to be about helping them understand the culture of the workplace. But to do that, we have to understand that they come from a culture all their own. White, black, Latino, Asian, no matter rich or poor, all youth share something in common. They share a culture that can be very different from the culture of the workplace. [emphasis mine]

The important soft skills identified in the webinar include self-control, motivation, and being on time. One participant offers an explanation for why such training is necessary, “I think some youth are from families where they didn’t get to model the behavior because nobody else in the family was demonstrating those kinds of behaviors.” The leader uses the term “cognitive conflict” to refer to a condition at work where one thing is expected of a worker but she/he does not want to comply. The first example concerns laid-off middle-aged male steelworkers not wanting to take commands from a young woman supervisor in a retail setting. The second example is a quick shift to teenagers in a shopping mall clothing store being asked to run errands for their boss while on their break. One participant warns that “you might get a few urban words” in response to increasingly impositional requests. Echoing back to the earlier quiz, the leader remarks in agreement that, “You might get a few urban words that you don’t even know what they mean.”

6 Deconstructing the Cultural Deficit Model

Code switching is reminiscent of the culture of poverty arguments in sociology popularized through the Moynihan report in 1965. In more contemporary discussions of education, the concept of the culture of poverty has been reconfigured through the language of “at risk youth.”37 The ways in which skill deficits are linked to urban and poor communities and family structure acts to blame targets of discrimination rather than discriminatory actors. In employment, the focus on teaching code switching takes up this mantle. This deficit model goes beyond simple language use and becomes bound up with notions of personality, soft skills, and professionalism that reinforce the dominance of corporate whiteness and maleness in neoliberal capitalism without interrogating institutional arrangements or hegemonic whiteness against which some individuals are found lacking.38 The reliance on these methods amounts to a sincere fiction for whiteness and maleness are already embedded in the ostensibly neutral construction of soft skills.39

The Philadelphia Youth Network has among its activities for youth work preparedness an exercise on code switching that asks students to distinguish among “professional,” “peer/friendly,” and “street.” Mistakes in code are cast as symmetrical, that is, using street code when you should use professional code is seen as no different from using professional code when you should use street code. Street and professional do not intersect. Such an uncritical application leaves the uncoded category invisible and directs us to “fix the inner city kids” rather than to question patterns of dominance and privilege encoded in social structures and practices, or to even recognize that the unmarked is also coded. What this amounts to in practice is teaching hegemonic whiteness as though “at risk” children have never observed it. The dominant culture, however, is readily apparent to kids in the form of television, teachers, and other media portrayals of “successful” people. The assumption that kids must learn the dominant culture is on tenuous ground.

Analyses of code switching, therefore, must be engaged with critical perspectives that make visible the uncoded and work to reveal configurations of power around language, comportment, and “manners.” We know that whites and men do not have the corner on manners and professionalism, but the discourse generated around code switching and soft skills reifies them as properties of only whiteness and maleness. Instead, we see that the emphasis on code switching and soft skills operates to support neoliberal capitalism, to legitimize racism and sexism, and to obfuscate social problems. Teaching code switching and soft skills should be seen as part of the drive to create the disembodied universal worker,40 the unmarked category that is actually in line with the needs of neoliberal capitalism. Disembodied universal workers have no needs, no lives outside of work, no gender, and no race. They are generic. Emphasizing code switching and soft skills becomes a form of labor control, creating a docile workforce through alienation and increased demands for emotional labor.41

Racism, sexism, and discrimination are rendered acceptable, even necessary, in the guise of “professionalism” or customer needs/demands. Capitalism requires docile or at least controlled workers, and when work shifts to more service-based than manufacturing, every aspect of the worker’s actions becomes part of the labor process. Customer needs are paramount, and those needs are embedded in race, gender, and class hierarchies. Gender and race-specific requirements (overt or covert) become legitimized as business necessities when they are linked to code switching and soft skills. Temporary clerical workers, for instance, must do white, middle class sociability or they risk unemployment.42 The Shoney discrimination suit demonstrated that “customer matching,” although touted as good business sense, is illegal under Title VII.43

The teaching of code switching and the emphasis on soft skills obfuscates structural problems with work and employment that reproduce social inequalities. It psychologizes, individualizes, and commodifies assimilation to hegemonic whiteness. In short, it blames the victim by disconnecting social inequalities from power structures and dynamics. Difficulties of individuals in the labor market should best be understood not as personal failures, but in relation to changes in labor markets, high unemployment, at-will employment, and the organization of work, which is decreasingly unionized.

While it is true that we all code switch, context matters. Employment offers us a context in which we can see the ways in which code switching is not merely a reflection of personal choices. In what other social realms might code switching be more embedded in systems of power? Access to health care, to education, and to a fair trial in the criminal justice system are other arenas in which unspoken demands for code switching have material consequences.

1

Penelope Gardner-Chloros, Code Switching (Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

2

Chi-Hong Leung, “An Empirical Study on Code Mixing in Print Advertisements in Hong Kong,” Asian Journal of Marketing, 4 (2010): 49–61, doi:10.3923/ajm.2010.49.61.

3

Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1959).

4

Janet K. Swim and Charles Stangor, Prejudice: The Target’s Perspective (New York, NY: Academic Press, 1998).

5

John Baugh, “Linguistic Profiling,” in Black Linguistics: Language Society and Politics in Africa and the Americas, eds. Sinfree Makoni, Geneva Smitherman, Arnetha F. Ball and Arthur K. Spears, with a foreword by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (Abingdon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2003), 155–168.

6

The Birdcage, directed by Mike Nichols (Los Angeles, CA: United Artists, 1996), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115685/.

7

Claire Damken Brown and Audrey Nelson, Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen (New York, NY: Alpha Books, 2009).

8

Social class, when thought of as culture, can be implicated in code switching as well. As with race and gender, code switching around social class happens in a context of hierarchy. Pygmalion would be an excellent example.

9

“Code Switch. Race and Identity, Remixed,” NPR, https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/.

10

“Obama’s Anger Translator – The Complete Collection,” Comedy Central, http://www.comedycentral.com.au/key-and-peele/videos/obamas-anger-translator-the-complete-collection.

11

“Linguistic Confusion,” New York Times, 24 December 1996, https://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/24/opinion/linguistic-confusion.html.

12

Aurelio Rojas, “Strong Opinions on Ebonics Policy: No Middle Ground in Views of Oakland Schools’ Plan,” San Francisco Chronicle, 23 December 1996, A13, https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Strong-Opinions-On-Ebonics-Policy-No-middle-2954992.php.

13

Debra Saunders, “Oakland’s Ebonics Farce,” San Francisco Chronicle, 24 December 1996, A15, https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/saunders/article/Debra-J-Saunders-Oakland-s-Ebonics-Farce-3318924.php.

14

In AAVE I have a dream would actually translate to “I got a dream.”

15

Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1976); Robert B. Reich, The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1991).

16

Philip Moss and Chris Tilly, “ ‘Soft’ Skills and Race: An Investigation of Black Men’s Employment Problems,” Work and Occupations 23, no. 3 (1996): 252–276, doi:10.1177/0730888496023003002.

17

Kevin D. Henson and Jackie Krasas Rogers, “ ‘Why Marcia You’ve Changed!’ Male Clerical Temporary Workers Doing Masculinity in a Feminized Occupation,” Gender and Society 15, no. 2 (2001): 218–238, doi:10.1177/089124301015002004.

18

Moss and Tilly, “ ‘Soft’ Skills and Race,” 261.

19

Moss and Tilly, “ ‘Soft’ Skills and Race,” 263.

20

Project Implicit at Harvard demonstrates just how embedded our biases are. See https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/.

21

Vincent Roscigno, Lisa M. Williams and Reginald A. Byron, “Workplace Racial Discrimination and Middle Class Vulnerability,” American Behavioral Scientist 56, no. 5 (2012): 696–710, doi:10.1177/0002764211433805.

22

Moss and Tilly, “ ‘Soft’ Skills and Race,” 271.

23

Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984).

24

Robert P. Gilloth, “Learning From the Field: Economic Growth and Workforce Development in the 1990s,” Economic Development Quarterly 14, no. 4 (2000): 348, doi:10.1177/089124240001400402.

25

William H. Lockhart, “Building Bridges and Bonds: Generating Social Capital in Secular and Faith-Based Poverty-to-Work Programs,” Sociology of Religion 66, no. 1 (2005): 54, doi:10.2307/4153115.

26

William Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1987); William Julius Wilson, The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997).

27

Annie E. Casey Foundation, Taking the Initiative on Jobs and Race. Innovations in Workforce Development for Minority Job Seekers and Employers (Baltimore, MD: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2001), 6, https://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-TakingTheInitiativeOnJobsAndRace-2001.pdf.

28

Annie E. Casey Foundation, Taking the Initiative on Jobs and Race, 6.

29

Elijah Anderson, “The Ideologically Driven Critique,” American Journal of Sociology 107, no. 6 (2002): 1534, doi:10.1086/342772.

30

U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, “Youth in Transition, Soft Skills to Pay the Bills – Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,” Overview, http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/; the curriculum document: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, Soft Skills to Pay the Bills – Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, 2012), https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/softskills.pdf.

31

See the video on https://youtu.be/-vk-99seC_I.

32

Cornelia Sears and Jessica Johnston, “Wasted Whiteness: The Racial Politics of the Stoner Film,” M/C Journal 13, no. 4 (2010), http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/267.

33

See the video on https://youtu.be/X0voPlW2pSs.

34

Lovalerie King and Shirley Moody-Turner, Contemporary African American Literature: The Living Canon (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013).

35

http://youthforcenola.org/yfn-awards-first-soft-skills-teacher-fellowships/.

36

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Workforce Development, Kids These Days, with Dr. Steven Parese, Part 2, webinar, 19 October 2012, http://jfs.ohio.gov/owd/wioa/Docs/Kids-These-Days-Part2.stm.

37

Richard R. Valencia, ed., The Evolution of Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice, The Standard Series on Education and Public Policy (Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer, 1997).

38

Amanda E. Lewis, “What Group? Studying Whites and Whiteness in the Era of Color-Blindness,” Sociological Theory 22, no. 4 (2004): 623–646, doi:10.1111/j.0735–2751.2004.00237.x.

39

Joe R. Feagin and Eileen O’Brien, White Men on Race: Power, Privilege, and the Shaping of Cultural Consciousness (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2003); Nancy E. Spencer, “Sister act VI: Venus and Serena Williams at Indian Wells: ‘Sincere Fictions’ and White Racism,” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 28, no. 2 (2004): 115–135, doi:10.1177/0193723504264411.

40

Joan Acker, “Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations,” Gender & Society 4, no. 2 (1990): 139–158, doi:10.1177/089124390004002002.

41

Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983).

42

Kevin D. Henson and Jackie Krasas Rogers, “ ‘Why Marcia You’ve Changed!’ Male Clerical Temporary Workers Doing Masculinity in a Feminized Occupation,” Gender and Society 15, no. 2 (2001): 218–238, doi:10.1177/089124301015002004.

43

Jonathan S. Leonard and David I. Levine. “Diversity, Discrimination, and Performance.” IRLE Working Paper No. 91–03 (2003), 4; http://irle.berkeley.edu/workingpapers/91-03.pdf.

Bibliography

  • Acker, Joan. “Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations.” Gender & Society 4, no. 2 (1990): 139–158. doi:10.1177/089124390004002002.

  • Anderson, Elijah. “The Ideologically Driven Critique.” American Journal of Sociology 107, no. 6 (2002): 1533–1550. doi:10.1086/342772.

  • Annie E. Casey Foundation. Taking the Initiative on Jobs and Race. Innovations in Workforce Development for Minority Job Seekers and Employers. Baltimore, MD: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2001. https://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-TakingTheInitiativeOnJobsAndRace-2001.pdf.

  • Anderson, Elijah. “The Ideologically Driven Critique.” American Journal of Sociology 107, no. 6 (2002): 1533–1550. doi:10.1086/342772.

  • Baugh, John. “Linguistic Profiling.” Pages 155–168 in Black Linguistics: Language, Society and Politics in Africa and the Americas. Edited by Sinfree Makoni, Geneva Smitherman, Arnetha F. Ball and Arthur K. Spears, with a foreword by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Abingdon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2003.

  • Bell, Daniel. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1976.

  • Brown, Claire Damken, and Audrey Nelson. Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen. New York, NY: Alpha Books, 2009.

  • “Code Switch. Race and Identity, Remixed.” NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/ codeswitch/.

  • Feagin, Joe R., and Eileen O’Brien. White Men on Race: Power, Privilege, and the Shaping of Cultural Consciousness. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2003.

  • Gardner-Chloros, Penelope. Code Switching. Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

  • Gilloth, Robert P. “Learning From the Field: Economic Growth and Workforce Development in the 1990s.” Economic Development Quarterly 14, no. 4 (2000): 340–359. doi:10.1177/089124240001400402.

  • Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1959.

  • Henson, Kevin D., and Jackie Krasas Rogers. “ ‘Why Marcia You’ve Changed!’ Male Clerical Temporary Workers Doing Masculinity in a Feminized Occupation.” Gender and Society 15, no. 2 (2001): 218–238. doi:10.1177/089124301015002004.

  • Hochschild, Arlie Russell. The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983.

  • King, Lovalerie, and Shirley Moody-Turner. Contemporary African American Literature: The Living Canon. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013.

  • Leonard, Jonathan S., and David I. Levine. “Diversity, Discrimination, and Performance.” IRLE Working Paper No. 91–03 (2003). http://irle.berkeley.edu/workingpapers/91-03.pdf.

  • Leung, Chi-Hong. “An Empirical Study on Code Mixing in Print Advertisements in Hong Kong.” Asian Journal of Marketing, 4 (2010): 49–61. doi:10.3923/ajm.2010.49.61.

  • Lewis, Amanda E. “What Group? Studying Whites and Whiteness in the Era of Color-Blindness.” Sociological Theory 22, no. 4 (2004): 623–646. doi:10.1111/j.0735–2751.2004.00237.x.

  • “Linguistic Confusion,” New York Times, 24 December 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/24/opinion/linguistic-confusion.html.

  • Lockhart, William H. “Building Bridges and Bonds: Generating Social Capital in Secular and Faith-Based Poverty-to-Work Programs.” Sociology of Religion 66, no. 1 (2005); 45–60. doi:10.2307/4153115.

  • Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984.

  • Menchaca, Martha. “Early Racist Discourses: Roots of Deficit Thinking.” Pages 13–40 in The Evolution of Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice. Edited by Richard R. Valencia. The Standard Series on Education and Public Policy. Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer, 1997.

  • Moss, Philip, and Chris Tilly. “ ‘Soft’ Skills and Race: An Investigation of Black Men’s Employment Problems.” Work and Occupations 23, no. 3 (1996): 252–276. doi:10.1177/0730888496023003002.

  • “Obama’s Anger Translator – The Complete Collection.” Comedy Central. http://www.comedycentral.com.au/key-and-peele/videos/obamas-anger-translator-the-complete-collection.

  • Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Workforce Development. Kids These Days, with Dr. Steven Parese, Part 2. Webinar, 19 October 2012. http://jfs.ohio.gov/owd/wioa/Docs/Kids-These-Days-Part2.stm.

  • Pellegrini, Anthony D. “A Critique of the Concept of At Risk as Applied to Emergent Literacy.” Language Arts 68, no. 5 (1991): 380–385. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41961878.

  • Reich, Robert B. The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1991.

  • Rojas, Aurelio. “Strong Opinions on Ebonics Policy: No Middle Ground in Views of Oakland Schools’ Plan.” San Francisco Chronicle, 23 December 1996, A13. https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Strong-Opinions-On-Ebonics-Policy-No-middle-2954992.php.

  • Roscigno, Vincent, Lisa M. Williams and Reginald A. Byron. “Workplace Racial Discrimination and Middle Class Vulnerability.” American Behavioral Scientist 56, no. 5 (2012): 696–710. doi:10.1177/0002764211433805.

  • Saunders, Debra. “Oakland’s Ebonics Farce.” San Francisco Chronicle, 24 December 1996, A15. https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/saunders/article/Debra-J-Saunders-Oakland-s-Ebonics-Farce-3318924.php.

  • Sears, Cornelia, and Jessica Johnston. “Wasted Whiteness: The Racial Politics of the Stoner Film.” M/C Journal 13, no. 4 (2010). http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/267.

  • Spencer, Nancy E. “Sister act VI: Venus and Serena Williams at Indian Wells: ‘Sincere Fictions’ and White Racism.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 28, no. 2 (2004): 115–135. doi:10.1177/0193723504264411.

  • Swim, Janet K., and Charles Stangor. Prejudice: The Target’s Perspective. New York, NY: Academic Press, 1998.

  • The Birdcage. Directed by Mike Nichols. Los Angeles, CA: United Artists, 1996. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115685/.

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. “Youth in Transition, Soft Skills to Pay the Bills – Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,” Overview. http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/.

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. Soft Skills to Pay the Bills – Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, 2012. https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/softskills.pdf.

  • Valencia, Richard R., ed. The Evolution of Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice. The Standard Series on Education and Public Policy. Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer, 1997.

  • Wilson, William Julius. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

  • Wilson, William Julius. The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 588 101 0
Full Text Views 393 283 21
PDF Views & Downloads 450 387 21