Wherever the Road Leads

Code Switching

And Speaking Swedish

I enjoy reading The Huffington Post. I’m guaranteed a good laugh. The Huffington Post is to print what CNN is to television, but on steroids. Their motto is:

The Barry Soweto administration could do no wrong, the Donald Trump administration can do no right.

If Donald Trump walked on water, The Huffington Post would report,

Donald Trump Can’t Swim“.

The Huffington Post also carries the banner for The Gay Alphabet, Illegals, Minorities, Social Justice Warriors and any other cause that they haven’t quite grasped are the reasons that got Donald Trump elected.

However, I learned something new recently. I always assumed that if I went to Sweden and couldn’t make myself understood, it was because I couldn’t speak Swedish.


I am not the one at fault. The Swedes are, because they can’t Code Switch.

According to Wikipedia: “In linguistics, codeswitching occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation.” But according to the Huffington Post video below, the term has been hijacked by black Americans to place blame elsewhere, when they can’t be understood, respected or able to get ahead.

(If the video doesn’t show, try this: click here.)

The speaker says that blacks ‘feel the need’ to code switch and to dilute their “African American English to a language that is closer to mainstream”.

I’d like to point out to this woman that Pig-Latin is not really Latin.

English is English.

It can be spoken with a Southern accent, a mid-western accent, a British accent, a South African accent or an Australian accent. A Frenchman, a German or a Chinaman will speak English with an accent heavily influenced by his native tongue, but it is still English; they don’t invent their own version and expect the Queen to understand.

African-American English? Like, “I was on my sail foam at de time. I dindu nuffink,”? Pidgin-English, perhaps.

Americans spend billions on education for all. When blacks seemed to be falling behind, the government brought in busing. When blacks were still unable to compete, the government brought in Affirmative Action, lowering standards for blacks. Still, we end up with THE most ghetto expression ever, “My bad.”

Now, I guess, if the government can’t force a particular segment of society to learn, they’ll invent a reason why they are failing… “code switching”… and the majority’s inability to understand is based in racism.

It wasn’t “the black expression” that got the woman in the example a jail cell, it was attitude.

No Southerner would ever accuse me of having a Southern accent, yet when I lived in Chicago, people there seemed to think so. I worked in warehousing and was constantly walking the floor trying to encourage productivity and getting to know folks. I would ask all of the black associates where they were from originally and many/most started out in Mississippi and Alabama. They knew I had an affinity for the South.

One day, one of the older (black) associates came to me and asked me to address an issue that was bothering him; the “N” word. He said that all the younger (black) associates were joking with each other saying, “nigga this… and… nigga that”.

The country of Niger, in Africa

The next day at the pre-shift meeting, I held up a sign that said, “Niger” with a picture of their flag. I rattled on about the location of the country and its GDP. I went on, “But that’s not what you thought this word meant when I first held up the sign. I’m sure you were shocked. You know that I come from the South and maybe it was okay to use that word. It’s not. That word has a long history in the South and carries a great deal of meaning and memories, not just for white folks but for blacks as well, who remember all too well what things were like when that was a commonly-used word. Please, don’t use it. Respect yourselves and others for whom it was a hard-fought battle for change.”

However, ‘change’ is a two-way street.

Don’t invent excuses.

Learn English.



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  1. Rebecca Dethlefs  July 18, 2018

    I am curious as to the response and behavior of the black employees after the “Niger” meeting.

    • gordon  July 18, 2018

      Not a lot was said. The gentleman who made the request thanked me. The (black) Lead Hand told me it was a brilliant way of getting everyone’s attention. I don’t know if my boss ever learned of it, but he may now as his wife is a FB friend!!


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