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White affects and sociolinguistic activism

  • Author(s): Bucholtz, Mary
  • et al.
Abstract

This year, undergraduates in my class ‘Language, race, and ethnicity’ carried out collaborative sociolinguistic activism projects addressing a range of issues in our community, such as racist street signs and California's ban on diacritics in personal names on official documents. Despite my and my teaching assistants’ explicit instructions that the projects should aim to effect some tangible change—the replacement of the street signs, the legalization of diacritics—many students focused instead on the more amorphous goal of ‘raising awareness’ of these issues on our campus and in the local community. As we explained, while raising the public profile of a social injustice is a necessary step toward changing it, this act alone cannot bring about change.

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