What do you do when you’re the one who doesn’t fit in? “Fish out of water“ are those who don’t fit in the mainstream culture, often due to sexual orientation, gender identity, ableness, income level, or ethnicity. This book focuses on survival and adaptation strategies for fish out of water as well as those who teach, supervise, and collaborate with them. . Included are: • Tools of code-switching—an important survival mechanism for managing the dynamics of difference—in culturally proficient organizations • Compelling portraits of fish out of water who have learned to survive and thrive in schools and other organizations • Strategies for working with children who are targeted and bullied because they are different For everyone who has been or knows how it feels to be a fish out of water, this book helps you flourish where you are and mentor others who are different. “Fish Out of Water is a great resource for navigating ponds that suffocate the marginalized with dominant norms and values. Linking Cultural Proficiency to decoding an environment provides more tools for code switching, code sharing, and conversations about making students and families feel welcomed, included, and safe in our schools.” —Angela Ward, Office of Cultural Proficiency & Inclusion Austin Independent Schools, TX “This book made me think. It is a courageous attempt at the difficult subject of who ‘doesn’t fit’ into the spaces and places we inhabit–and why. But the most valuable part of this book is that it describes what we can do about making our schools, workplaces, and communities more inclusive, and ultimately more effective.” —Nicki King, Reducing Mental Health Disparities Project University of California, Davis
Chapter 6: From Code Switching to Code Sharing
In order to engage successfully in an environment, it is important to know and meet the expectations of the culture. The process of learning the cultural expectations, especially the rules that are only known by insiders, is called decoding the culture. It is a strategy that often results in thriving rather than merely surviving. People who care about the people with whom they have relationships are constantly checking for understanding, asking for clarification, redirecting and refining their communication, and learning new codes. They move from code switching to code sharing.
Cultural codes are learned from birth. Parents learn to distinguish the different types of cries from their babies. An astute parent ...