I didnt really intend to post anything today but it was dropped in my lap and I couldnt resist. I am a Jeopardy kid from a Jeopardy family. As a baby, I would hum the final question music and tap out the beat with my baby spoon. I pride myself on being able to answer questions on that show and sometimes I even consider being a contestant. Because I have always loved trivia. Little known facts that are only useful on inebriated nights with friends that are also known as game nights. I asked my mother to buy me an almanac when I was 9 and I am a self confessed nerd. And I be code switching. Code switching? What’s that? Well first let me tell you a little bit more about me.
I am very much a Black girl. Teetering the line between stereotype and black exception at most junctures. Yes, I love fried chicken. And yes, watermelon too. Yes, I have been scorched by hot combs, gotten chemical scalp burns by relaxers and I know my way around an afro pic. Yes I can sing and dance and I am not at all intimidated by a multi-layered beat (The 2 and the 4 people, the 2 and the 4!).
Yes, I know my father. Yes, I have traveled abroad. Yes, I have my degree. Yes, I work in the arts (2 jobs as of today! Woohoo!) Yes, I am unwed and childless. And yes, I be code switching.
Code switching!? There’s that phrase again!
According to Wikipedia, in linguistics, code-switching is switching between one or more language, or language variety, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals—people who speak more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.
So here’s an example, a young woman walks into a Starbucks and stands in line behind you and you hear this:
Yeah gurl so I was like I be knowin what you doin. Im not dumb and he was all like baby dont do me like that and I was like psh… Gurl hol on a sec… Hello? This is she. Yes I can definitely do that. No problem. What time is most convenient for you? Absolutely. See you then. You do the same. Goodbye… Gurl you there so yeah like I was sayin…
So either you believe she is psychotic or… or… what do you think? Well she is code switching. Code switching is the basis of this blog and I need for you to understand that I am not being ironically ignorant. Black English is a language that is distinct from Standard American English. If you have read enough of this blog I hope that you know that I am proficient in both. I code because I have thoughts that can only be truly expressed in my native tongue of Black English. Sometimes it just beez like that.
I am proud of who I am even as I try to make a way in a society that tells me I shouldnt be. I love my brown skin, my thick hair, my almond eyes, my feisty wit and my language. It is revolutionary and I accept that. But every once in a while something can happen like a Jeopardy category called “B in the Middle” that reminds me that I be important.