White Hip Hoppers, Language and Identity in Post-Modern America  book cover
1st Edition

White Hip Hoppers, Language and Identity in Post-Modern America

ISBN 9781138549067
Published February 5, 2018 by Routledge
218 Pages

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Book Description

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 the consumption 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.

Table of Contents

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

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Cecelia Cutler received her Ph.D. from New York University in 2002. She is currently an associate professor at Lehman College. Her research explores the speech practices of white Hip Hoppers and how they construct their authenticity linguistically and discursively. She has published pieces in the International Journal of Bilingualism, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Language and Linguistics Compass, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Language Variation and Change, and Language and Education.


"The book’s six chapters complement each other well in terms of their focal points and represent a welcome integration of quantitative and qualitative analyses of variation, discourse and interaction. The findings offer a range of insights with relevance for sociolinguistic theory."

- JANNIS ANDROUTSOPOULOS, Institut fur Germanistik, Universitat Hamburg