University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Catherine Moran, Department of Sociology
The Communicative Adaptation In The Face Of Microagressions: A Focus On Minorities In Post-Secondary Institutions
The goal of this research is to explore how racial minorities, namely Blacks , Latinx , and Asians , use code switching in response to perceived prejudices. Code switching is when someone changes from a non-native language to a native language, consciously changes their accent, and alters their use of colloquialisms. Exploring the use and circumstances of code switching, by and among minorities, is important because earlier studies have mostly focused on the reactions of Caucasians. For example, earlier studies have shown that students tend to label those with heavy accents, as less respectable or that changes in syntax decrease employability. Nevertheless, literature detailing the racial-minorities’ perspectives on code switching is lacking. Also, earlier studies have not looked at code switching as a form of impression management. Impression management is when one purposefully tries to modulate the opinions of others, through the way one dresses, acts, or in this case speaks. This proposed study will look at the development and use of code switching, as an impression management strategy provoked by perceived prejudice. Recruitment college students and recent alumni will be by referral and interviewed in a semi-structured format. Interviews may take place in person, by phone, or via Zoom. Initial interviewees will be recruited with help from UNH’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the cultural clubs of the aforementioned minority groups; this will help establish a referral network. This study is not meant to be representative of all racial minorities, but to see if, how, and when code-switching occurs, and if there are patterns in this form of impression management.