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You da man: Narrating the racial other in the production of white masculinity

Authors


Mary Bucholtz Department of English, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-4227, U.S.A. bucholtz@tamu.edu

Abstract

Sociolinguistic research on the linguistic construction of identity has begun to attend to the construction of culturally normative, unmarked social categories such as whiteness and masculinity. The study of these categories involves the investigation of ideology as well as identity, because ideology produces hegemonic forms of white masculinity. Such ideologies of race and gender shape narratives of interracial conflict told by middle-class European American boys at a California high school. The article focuses on one such narrative, told by a white boy who aligns with black youth culture and uses elements of African American Vernacular English in his speech. Via language crossing and other discursive strategies such as constructed dialogue, the narrative positions black masculinity, in contrast to white masculinity, as physically powerful and locally dominant. At the same time, the narrative preserves the racial hierarchy that enables white cultural appropriation of African American culture through language crossing.

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