Chapter 2:“Put Some Respect on My Name”: Students’ Right to Their Own Language

The chapter:

  • Discusses how African-American students navigate the linguistic expectations of the higher education classroom. Includes students’ linguistic experiences, linguistic choices, and linguistic agency related to interactions with professors and peers, across year, major, and type of college/university
  • Discusses linguistic empowerment for Black students in higher education broadly while situating linguistic knowledge alongside specific concepts of individual and interpersonal identity, institutional bias, microaggressions, solo status, stereotype threat, prejudice, discrimination, inequality, and racism—all supported by the relevant sociological and educational literature. 

Key Themes

  • Language and self-concept: Participants’ views on how they came to discover their “linguistic selves” and how this discovery manifests as they deal with issues such as code- and style-switching/shifting/meshing (Young et al. 2013) in educational and non-educational settings
  • Linguistic authenticity versus linguistic assimilation: Participants’ views of and responses to the educational and societal devaluation of what they view as their authentic speech patterns
  • The question of ‘talking white’: Participants’ views on what it means not to perform what others perceive as authentic Blackness and the balancing act that Black students in higher education often must engage in, based on how they see themselves linguistically and how they are viewed societally (Fordham 1998)

Chapter Links

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