Spring 2019 Dialogue

Social Justice Commission  | Spring 2019 Article Discussion

What’s the plan?

This spring we’ll be discussing “I Can Switch My Language But I Can’t Switch My Skin:” What All Teachers Need to know About Linguistic Racism, by April Baker-Bell. After you’ve read the article and had a chance to talk about it with some people, tell us what you thought!

Here’s the schedule:

  • Week of February 11: Write a response to the article to share your ideas and introduce yourself

  • Week of February 18: Read through what everyone said and leave comments in the text or by using the comment function here.

Additional food for thought…

Here are some videos and other links to explore as you think about Dr. Baker-Bell’s article.

Let’s get talking!

Below please start by introducing yourself and then paste/write your response to the article.

In your introduction…

  • Tell us who y’all are! Where are you in your teaching life and where do you live/work?

  • Who are the students y’all teach? Most importantly for this discussion, how do they identify racially (or are labeled racially by the school system)?

  • Post a picture/selfie of your group

In your response…

  • What do you think about the statement on p. 98 that “communicating in White Mainstream English does not always prevent linguistic racism?”

  • What are your thoughts about teaching linguistic diversity as “code-switching” and what are the limits of code-switching?

  • Read through and talk about the questions 104-105. What did you think about answering those questions, and what might you change in your teaching practice after reading them?

  • This article is from a book called The Guide For White Women Who Teach Black Boys and has big ideas about the connections between race and language. How might these ideas about linguistic racism and the intersections of race and language apply in other contexts? For example, I (Thea) am White, so even though I can switch my language to Spanish, I still walk through the world read by my skin. People compliment me sometimes when I speak Spanish, when kids in my area can get yelled at for having brown skin and speaking Spanish.

To post, please click to access our Google Doc.