After reading about code switching I took a moment to reflect on the many ways I address different people. It did not take me long to realize I wear many hats and with each hat comes a unique voice. Let us explore a few of the voices Cameron Frostbaum uses.
Mama’s Boy – I am, as every good son should be, close with my mother. Why shouldn’t I be? There is no one in the world who loves me more than my mother does. I have the greatest mom in the universe and after you try her world famous chocolate milk, you will agree. No matter how hard I fight this particular code switch, the way I talk when I am on the phone with my mom evolves into an conversation between mama and her baby boy. The reason for this transformation probably lies in the absolute security my mother provides me. All the defenses I put up to fight my mother’s effect on me melt away and my most innocent self appears. While the sound that comes out of my mouth strikes people as a bit strange, to my mother, this is the boy she knows best and any problem or need I have is immediately cared for.
New York Jew – After watching any Woody Allen film or spending time with my family (all of which either live in New York or are from there), I end up sounding like a fussy old man from Manhattan. I complain excessively and every word has this nasally sound that is almost comedic, if it was not so pathetic. I doubt anyone actually thinks I am from New York, as the accent I produce is absolutely horrendous, but I slip into one of Allen’s characters or a distant relative. I normally snap out of this “kvetching” trance after getting strange looks from people.
Artsy Thespian – Let me begin with saying I do not like musicals. I am not a fan of the genre, yet, when I am around theater kids I literally unload knowledge about shows and songs from some dark, scary part of my mind. Even though musicals often dominate conversations, my true passion are spoken word dramas. I take on this pretentious, philosophical persona when discussing the meanings of Tom Stoppard’s, a post modernist playwright, plays. I like to believe I am not a stuck up individual and that something inside is just trying to compensate for the fact that I am still a novice striving to become an experienced professional.
I have only explored a few instances in which I code switch. It is illuminating to investigate the way I interact with different people. Perhaps by analyzing the way I behave and speak around others I can try to find a truer form of myself. Even though I am still “Cameron” with various groups, I adjust the way I act in order to meet what I perceive to be other’s standards. This year at Emory I will attempt to find a way to float in various bubbles, while still carrying over personal values and characteristics that I believe are my strongest traits.