I did a lot of code switching in Japan. Part of trying to get people to like me, while speaking to them in Japanese, was trying to act more Japanese. This meant the poor performance of some stereotypical mannerisms I had gathered from my time there.

Now that I am back in America and constantly interacting with many different kinds of people, I still find myself code switching. I think I’m more conscious of it now though. For example, when I speak to black people I speak faster and slur my words because I think it sounds cooler and I want them to know that I view myself as a pretty chill guy. This didn’t occur to me until my doctor’s appointment today when the black nurse seemed to change her voice when she was speaking to me. It became more formal and she sounded like she had a bubble in her throat. Meanwhile I was slurring my words and trying to sound cool.

Fact of the matter is, if we both just spoke normally it would have been a more comfortable interaction. I don’t always speak like James Lipton and I’m sure she doesn’t go through the day speaking in rap.

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