Codeswitching vs. Coat-switching

Last night I went to a reading of Mixed Blessings by Rhoda Berlin MS Lmft, and Harriet Cannon M. C. Lmft Lmhc. It’s a guidebook written by marriage and family therapists. Here’s a quick description:

Mixed Blessings explores the impact of migration, appearance, social class, spiritual/religious and cultural practices on individual, couple and family identity. It is practical and nourishing, an inclusive resource for modern times. The book is intended for those living mixed blessings and for helping professionals who help them navigate these challenges.
It was a lovely reading, mixed with music — the Beatles “All You Need is Love” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. They even got the audience to sing along a little bit, and I am ALWAYS ready to sing along.
Lot of good information about how socio-cultural differences affect relationships and some eye-openers from me, including some differences between “individualist culture” and “collectivist culture” in plain-speaking terms instead of academia-terms.
They talked a little about “coat-switching,” and I thought, “Yes indeed, I have done that. I have switched coats as I moved from one culture to another.”
Later, glancing through the book, I saw that they were not in fact talking about “coat-switching,” but instead about “code-switching.” Code-switching means shifting the way you talk and act based on the culture you’re in at the moment. We all do it.
But it’s a big word. I like the term “coat-switching” quite a bit and might just use it instead. It’s an approachable and friendly term.
Just like the reading was! Thank you, authors, for an enjoyable evening.

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