This article addresses the semantics of ethnicity/race and ethnic/racial categorization in the United States and its role in sociolinguistic inquiry. The focus is on scholars' ethnic/racial coding of African American, which is used interchangeably with the label Black. While there has been a growing body of research that shows African American English (AAE) varies both regionally and across social lines (e.g., age, gender, class), slow to follow is work addressing variation within the ethnic/racial category African American/Black in and of itself. This paper argues the field of sociolinguistics and related fields are at a crossroads in terms of how we categorize people within ethnically diverse African American/Black communities in the United States and offers methodological solutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language