Publication Date: April 22, 2022
Talking College shows that language is fundamental to Black and African American culture and that linguistic justice is crucial to advancing racial justice, both on college campuses and throughout society. Writing from a linguistics-informed, Black-centered educational framework, the authors draw extensively on Black college students’ lived experiences to present key ideas about African American English and Black language practices. The text presents a model of how Black students navigate the linguistic expectations of college. Grounded in real-world examples of Black undergraduates attending colleges and universities across the United States, the model illustrates the linguistic and cultural balancing acts that arise as Black students work to develop their full linguistic selves. Talking College provides Black students with the knowledge they need to make sense of anti-Black linguistic racism and to make decisions about their linguistic experiences in college. It also offers key insights to help college faculty and staff create the liberating and linguistically just educational community that Black students deserve.
Anne H. Charity Hudley is professor of education at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and of linguistics and African and African American Studies by courtesy in collaboration with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. Christine Mallinson is professor in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; affiliate professor in the Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies; and the director of the Center for Social Science Scholarship at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Mary Bucholtz is professor in the Department of Linguistics and director of the Center for California Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“This book exemplifies what it means to share the results of a high-quality, multi-year, community-based scholarly study while practicing academic activism. Through this work, the authors carefully craft a perspective and mindset shift for Black students to minimize the threat of ‘acting White’ by ‘speaking standard English.’”
—Teachers College Record
“This is an outstanding book by an exceptional group of researchers! We’ve known for over half a century that interruptive or disparaging remarks about Black Talk can have debilitating effects on Black speakers, but only in this book do we have, for the first time, a spirited, uplifting remedy for Black students and their teachers at the college level. The book is invaluable for its research information and strategies, but also for its sensitivity to the complexities of its subject, and for its conception of a liberatory linguistics that would enrich people’s lives and bring joy.”
—John R. Rickford, J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities, Stanford University; author, African American Vernacular English and Speaking My Soul: Race, Life and Language
“Unapologetically Black, Talking College is an affirmative guide for Black college students to stand in their linguistic self-determination as a social group. Charity Hudley, Mallinson, and Bucholtz expose the ills of cultural and structural racism in language and education and offer concrete suggestions for educators on college campuses to address this. Heartfelt, empowering, and powerfully articulated, this book is a tool for racial justice.”
—Prudence L. Carter, Sarah and Joseph Jr. Dowling Professor, Brown University
“Talking College is a remarkable distillation of evidence and well-informed advice that has the capacity to deliver on the promise that Brown v. Board has yet to achieve. Drawing from numerous poignant ethnographic interviews with Black college students who attended either Historically Black Colleges and Universities or predominantly white universities, the authors celebrate the language and lives of these students while offering innovative strategies to enhance and accelerate their academic success. Anyone who values uplifting high achievement among Black college students will gain new wisdom from the knowledge that gets dropped throughout this timely tome.”
—John Baugh, Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts and Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis