Code-Switching In We Wear The Mask And When Malindy Sings

1855 Words 8 Pages
Would you write an email to your professor the same way you would write a tweet? Would you speak to your boss the same way you speak to your friends? Would someone from Tennessee have the same vernacular as someone from South Boston? Code-switching is the changing of speech patterns both in writing and physical speaking depending on audience. One of the oldest examples of literary code-switching is in Paul Laurence Dunbar 's 1896 poetry collection Lyrics of Lowly life. Specifically Dunbar 's poems: “We Wear the Mask,” and “When Malindy Sings.” These works not only give a great example of what code-switching is; but also asks the reader engaged with why one might code switch and the effects of that switching. “We Wear the Mask” describes …show more content…
Through the imagery and the vernacular language the poem is written in , Dunbar implies that the speaker is a slave nanny. Throughout the poem the speaker only uses a prefix when referring to is Miss Lucy: “G’way an’ quit dat noise, Miss Lucy,’ (line 1) and “Tell you one thing now, Miss Lucy,”(line 13). Though this is a common practice in the south, the fact that the speaker only uses a prefix when referring to her, puts Miss Lucy in a place of …show more content…
When the President 's meets a white person he does a firm, professional, and unemotional hand shake, but when he meets a black person he gives a more personal/emotional greeting, often including a hug. The difference between the greeting get more extreme as he goes down the line of people. For example when he meets a black woman with a baby he holds the child and kisses it saying to the mother, “Oh she is so beautiful, I want another one, beautiful, precious, ” then right after when greeting a white woman with a baby, he asks what the child 's name is then takes her hand out of her mouth and shakes it saying; “Nice to meet you Ms. Rugey.” While Obama 's code-switching is more sulttle in real life, after seeing the extreme in this satire it 's easier to point out his when he 's performing it. Just like Dunbar, Obama performs code-switching creates a space for African Americans in the white house, a place they have been historically been kept out of. Obama performs code switching to create a feeling of inclusion. But in trying to create an inclusive or welcoming environment for African Americans he is simultaneously excluding the white Americans. Thus, showing that code-switching can be used as a tool for both inclusion and

Related Documents