White Hip-Hoppers, Language and Identity in Post-Modern America
To Be Published December 31st 2013 by Routledge – 256 pages
This book examines language and identity among White American middle and upper-middle class youth who affiliate with Hip-Hop culture. Hip-Hop youth engage in practices that range from thec onsumption of rap music and fashion to practices like MC-ing (writing and performing raps or "rhymes"), DJ-ing (mixing records to produce a beat for the MC), graffiti tagging, and break-dancing. Cutler explores the way in which these young people stylize their speech using linguistic resources drawn from African American English and Hip-Hop slang terms. She also looks at the way they construct their identities in discussions with their friends, and how they talk about and use language to construct themselves as authentic within Hip-Hop. Cutler considers the possibility that young people experimenting with AAVE-styled speech may improve the status of AAVE in the broader society. She also addresses the need for educators to be aware of the linguistic patterns found in AAVE and Hip-Hop language, and ways to build on Hip-Hop skills like rhyming and rapping in order to motivate students and promote literacy.
1. Introduction: White Youth and the Appeal of Hip-Hop Culture in the 90s 2. Keepin' it Real: Whiteness, Language, and Identity in Hip-Hop Culture 3. Talking "Black": An Examination of the Language Patterns of White Hip-Hoppers 4. Resisting Whiteness: Immigrant Youth, Hip-Hop and Linguistic Choice 5. The Next Great White Rapper: Getting Called Out for Being White on TV 6. Identity Formation in the Hip-Hop Age 7. Conclusion: Implications for Education and the Status of AAVE
Cecelia Cutler is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at CUNY Graduate School and Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle and High School Education at Lehman College.