LJefferson American Political Science

Blog Post #5

Posted on: January 16, 2010


Code Switching:

  • light skin coloring and running for president
  • talking different among friends and employers
  • Harry Reid
  • President Obama and Jesse Jackson
  • speaking with a “negro” dialect
  • distinction between north and south
  • African American Code Switch
  • President voice clip, about talking the same way while talking to a black audience and a white audience. Says that he does, that it is hard not to talk a different way to a black audience.
  • a social distance or proximity
  • part of code switching is an involuntary response
  • “a black thing, or a politics thing”
  • anyone can talk in a dialect that portrays a certain “english” from the proper english and the slangs.
  • “negro dialect”
  • 50 cent represent african americans, his form of speaking
  • speaking english appropriately in situations where they need to
  • confusion to why african American’s are upset
  • endorsing a candidate that ran on segregation?
  • partisan aspect of the candidacy and candidate
  • no spanglish because it wouldn’t be correct, but why are people so opposed to african americans doing the same
  • liberian english
  • standard english
  • –> while in different events
  • implications or consequence based on this, a “double standard”
  • –> people don’t believe in further consequences
  • Harry Reid was supportive of Obama’s campaign and presidency but now against his speaking
  • “We don’t speak that way when were trying to be President of the United States”

Brought up in the article was how other leaders who speak spanish don’t in formal conversations speak spanglish, but while talking to people that they are friendly with they will use improper english. They compared this to Obama and other African American’s speaking slang to their “friends” while when needing to sound sophisticated speaking a proper english. I know personally when I hear someone speaking slang for instance during a presentation, I think why is this person saying this? Don’t they know their being graded on their speaking? And Obama’s case is the same way, the voters graded him on how much they liked him, he had to be the most appealing and seem the most suited for the job. If he sounded uneducated and like he never knew proper english people, especially whites wouldn’t vote for him. He had to trade off his tone from one population to another to appeal to each group the best that he could.

“We don’t speak that way when were trying to be President of the United States” This quotation is taken from one of the speakers doing the talk show, they brought up the point several times about the way that 50 cent talks and how because he talks in a “negro dialect” that he doesn’t represent the entire African American community. The people on this show all support Obama and the way he speaks, they believe that Harry Reid was incorrect in deciding to back Obama throughout his campaign and than throwing accusations at him now. Several of the speakers were African American and agreed with the fact that they too speak differently with their friends of the same decent than from a superior, and if they too were running for presidency they would speak in “standard english.”

“A black thing, or a politics thing” This is another quotation taken from the voice thread. Its not just a black thing, I know personally I talk differently to my friends than to my teachers or strangers. If I want to impress someone, I dress up and speak the most formally and correct that I can. I don’t need to prove myself to my friends, Obama was similar. I’m not saying that Obama is friends with all African Americans and that he doesn’t need to impress them, but that he needed to over ride stereotypes between whites and blacks. So when he spoke to whites he tried to sound and speak the way that most educated one’s do, and when he spoke to African Americans who don’t have a high education he tried to make it seem like he was like them, a form of propaganda for his campaign, “plain folk.” This propaganda worked Obama’s president now.


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