The Art And Science Of Code-Switching: Meet Makeba Wilbourn

Sep 4, 2017

Makeba Wilbourn (right) and her daughter, Justice, at a Durham Bulls game
Credit Duke University

Makeba Wilbourn has been immersed in the subtleties of language since she was a child.

As the daughter of a northern white mother and southern black father, she constantly changed the way she spoke to her own family. And as she grew older, she realized she had to be an expert at code-switching in order to succeed as a biracial woman.

Today, Makeba studies how children develop those differences in language, and how that might contribute to our racial biases.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Wilbourn, a psychology professor and director of the Wilbourn Infant Lab at Duke University, about her research and how understanding language differences might help bridge racial divides.

Note: This program is a rebroadcast. It aired originally on March 27, 2017.