In linguistics, “code switching” is the practice of alternating between two different languages within one conversation. People do this conversationally to try to fit in, or to help the other party understand the context of their message.
In her Tedx Orlando talk, “The Cost of Code Switching,” Chandra Arthur discusses growing up black in America, and how she was taught from a very young age to code switch to be taken more seriously. The tech founder and CEO of an app called Friendish, Arthur explains how this practice, while critical for black people to be seen as a “non-threatening person of color,” is actually a danger to true diversity. People who are societally expected to code switch, spend more time focused on learning how to speak to fit in than they do living, creating businesses, or solving community problems.