Coded Communication: Language born of oppression

Researching Black women's experience with code switching, active project to be presented in 2021

My thesis explores the topic of Black women’s oppression by highlighting the experience they have with code switching in predominantly white and/or male environments. Black women must code switch in order to succeed in society, receive appropriate treatment, and avoid promoting stereotypes. It is unjust that Black women must code switch just to exist safely in society, especially keeping in mind the detrimental effect code switching has on Black women’s mental health. This kind of “do or die” code switching leads to issues including depression, anxiety, lost sense of self, internalized oppression, and feeling forced to “choose sides.”

With my work I seek to educate and celebrate: Educate those outside Black women’s community on the ways Black women must code switch, the effect it has on them, and the penalties for not doing it. Encourage Black women to celebrate their Blackness and womanhood unapologetically to eliminate internalized racism and sexism in the community. My research on the subject will manifest into a research video, reference “books,” and an installation.

I am currently developing my thesis in the MFA in Design Program at VCUarts Qatar. This page will be updated monthly with my visual and conceptual thesis developments. My thesis will be finalized in May 2021.

(developments are listed newest to oldest)

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© 2020 by Nia Alexander Art