Code Switching

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Growing up on the out skirts of Philadelphia and a father with a sensitive job, requiring him to pack up and move in a moment's notice, my family moved in excess of two dozen times. This in itself took an enormous toll on the well-being of the family. Every time another move came about, came with it new challenges, social challenges that instigated change within myself. Constantly torn between friends, family and school life, I had evolved to be a routine that I came to learn in order to keep an oddly balanced lifestyle. It was the very process of "code-switching" that I struggled with, making me into the person that I am today. In both, bell hooks' keeping close to home and Barbara Mellix's From Outside, In there is a common theme between both essays. "Code-switching" or the ability to change one aspect of life to another similar aspect while at the same time trying to cope with the surrounding environment. This process of code-switching presents itself numerous times throughout each essay in various ways. Each woman responding differently, both faced with a challenge to communicate with two particular social groups. Hooks felt that she was an outsider in college, because she herself came from an underprivileged background, while most of her peers came from privileged backgrounds. Hooks states, "I did not intend to forget my class background or alter my class allegiance (233)," but she felt that in order to succeed, she must change who she was. "Society, peers, and educators make assumptions that label the underprivileged and minorities as lower class people who have no beliefs or values (234)." Professors expected her to perform badly because of her past and the reputation in today's society. She was not given the fair chance that other students received. Knowing the way society portrays, the underprivileged student, hooks kept to herself. Even after she proved to be a serious and capable student, they still looked down upon her. Hooks, at...
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