Racism, Self Solidarity, Subconscious

Why Don’t We Talk About When White People Code Switch?

Part I: When Cornbread becomes Code-Switching

If you’re a Person of Color reading this article, you might have a personal anecdote of either yourself or one of your parents engaging in code switching.

I can recall the time when I first witnessed my dad code switching. He was known for doing what he referred to as talking ‘cornbread’. It was his way of saying “Don’t talk down to people or make them feel bad for not knowing something you already know. Keep things simple and easy to understand.”

This was dad’s take on the street slang, ‘keeping it real.’ He took pride in always speaking in this straightforward, ‘cornbread’ manner. So, you can imagine my shock when, at the age of eight, I first saw him on the phone with a white man, code switching.

It was a stark contrast to the father I knew.  

Code switching – that’s what my dad was doing: attempting to imitate what he thought a white person sounded like. His manner of speaking was out of the ordinary, his words pronounced in a manner that was unfamiliar to me. His facial expressions were strained, as if he were performing in a Broadway show.

Afterwards, he would exhibit such anger and frustration that his reaction made it crystal clear to me that he deeply resented having to code-switch. Without witnessing his reaction, I might have grown up thinking this was perfectly normal. This episode taught me that although code switching is widespread, it’s not natural for us.

We often talk about Black people code switching, but now it’s important to understand why white people engage in it too. Of course, what I’m going to share may surprise you, and even evoke feelings of discomfort or self-betrayal, much like my dad experienced.

“How does such a mindset become a daily habit?”

Nowadays, we understand that my dad’s idea of imitating a white man was a construct in his mind. But the real question is, how did the construct get into his mind? How does a highly intelligent, unique individual like my dad come to believe that being his true self wasn’t the best choice? How does such a mindset become a daily habit? The answer is survival!

What’s even more astounding is understanding how this racialized programming designed to intentionally cultivate self-doubt in people of color, ironically enough, ends up doing the same thing to white people. 

Consider what messages white people have been receiving for the past one hundred years. Now, think about the messages they have been receiving about people of color. How have white people been depicted in the media compared to people of color?  

Depending on what stage you are in your growth process you may or may not be able see this for yourself. You may still be racially unconscious. For example, white women were portrayed in media as beautiful and elegant. However, Black women, were at the bottom of the racial caste system and depicted as ugly and loud. 

Just to be clear, the idea of talking like a ‘white person’ isn’t real. Understand that the so-called ‘white person’ that a person of color tries to imitate doesn’t exist. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all white person.

My dad wasn’t mimicking a real white guy; he was acting on what he’d been socialized to believe about white people. He was reacting to a program that painted white people as the pinnacle of success.

Most people below white people on the racial hierarchy often sought to emulate white people, as a survival strategy and to unconsciously prove they’re worthy of acceptance.

Why Do White People Code Switch?

So, the big question is, why do white people code switch? Are they also stuck in survival mode, trying to secretly prove they’re good enough too?

Consider what messages white people have been receiving for the past one hundred years and how it has contributed to the spread of imposter syndrome. Now, think about the messages they have received about people of color. Historically speaking, how have white people been depicted in the media compared to people of color?

For example, white women were portrayed in the media as the standard of beauty and elegance. However, Black women, at the bottom of the racial hierarchy have historically been depicted as unattractive and angry.

What sort of distortions has this created in white people’s own view of themselves and the way they relate to people of color? People of color aren’t the only ones trying to reclaim their authentic voice.

And so, the question we must answer is – how do were cover our true voice, regardless of our race?This question and so many others, we shall explore in part two and three of this article series.

For those of you who have questions about part one, or you would just like to share a healthy dialogue on the subject please email me at or share your thoughts and make comments on instagram, facebook or LinkedIn. I look forward to having a meaningful discussion for overcoming impostor syndrome and taking back our authentic selves.

About Mahdi

Mahdi Davenport
Soul Focused Group CEO, Mahdi Davenport

For those unfamiliar with me, I am Berwick Mahdi Davenport, CEO, and co-founder of the Soul Focused Group. Our company, a solution based educational consultancy, is dedicated to fostering personal growth through reverse engineering the purpose of racism, which is to divide and conquer.

Our approach brings people together by teaching organizations how to cultivate Human Solidarity through Self Solidarity first, which strengthens leadership, elevates emotional intelligence, improves retention rates, cultivates psychologically safe environments and capitalizes on the benefits of diversity without all the negative side effects.

Over the past three decades, this work has enriched me, thanks to the thousands of brilliant minds like yours that I’ve had the privilege of engaging with. My focus on code switching stems from its immense potential in empowering us all and disrupting the pervasive influence of racism.

When we stop being “fake” we can unleash the power that comes from being REAL. To discover more about the Human Solidarity Project (HSP) approach visit our website and check out our blog and podcasts.

Read More
Challenges of Being Accountable
Accountability, Ego, Power, Self Solidarity

How to Hold Yourself Accountable: Embracing Ownership and Accountability in Your Life

In the mosaic of personal development, the art of learning how to hold yourself accountable stands out as a cornerstone, a fundamental piece that holds the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Accountability—often whispered as the secret ingredient to success—is about owning your actions, embracing your choices, and standing in the truth of your outcomes. It’s a dance with integrity, a promise to be accountable not just in moments of triumph but also in times of trial.

The Journey to Being Accountable

Being accountable is akin to holding a mirror up to your soul and observing, without judgment, the reflections of your actions and decisions. It’s a commitment to seeing yourself fully, recognizing both your light and shadows, and choosing to grow from every experience.

What Does It Mean to Be Accountable?

To be accountable is to navigate the river of life with the oars of responsibility firmly in your hands. It’s understanding that while the currents may push you, the direction and the distance you travel are yours to determine. It’s acknowledging that every choice you make sends ripples across the waters of your existence, affecting not just your journey but those around you.

The Pathway to Holding Yourself Accountable

  1. Acknowledge Your Power: Recognize that you are the creator of your reality. Your decisions, big and small, shape the course of your life.
  2. Set Intentions with Clarity: Know what you want to achieve and why. Clear goals are the maps that guide your journey of accountability.
  3. Embrace Transparency: Be honest with yourself about your motivations, actions, and their consequences. Transparency is the cornerstone of accountability.
  4. Reflect and Learn: View every outcome as an opportunity for learning. Mistakes are not failures but lessons that pave the path to wisdom.
  5. Seek Feedback: Open yourself to the perspectives of others. Feedback is a mirror that reflects aspects of yourself you may not see.
  6. Celebrate Your Progress: Acknowledge every step forward. Celebrating progress fuels your motivation and reinforces your commitment to accountability.
  7. Adjust and Align: Be prepared to adjust your sails. Accountability means being adaptable, making changes to align with your goals and values.

Cultivating Ownership and Accountability

Ownership and accountability are about taking charge of your life. It’s about saying, “I am responsible for my journey” and believing in your ability to navigate through challenges. Ownership is the recognition that while you cannot control every aspect of your life, you have the power to control how you respond to it.

The Impact of Being Accountable

When you commit to holding yourself accountable, you step into a realm of empowerment where excuses fade away, and actions take center stage. Accountability is the foundation upon which self-respect is built, and from this foundation, the true potential can flourish.

Accountability in Action: A Practical Guide

Being accountable in daily life means setting realistic expectations, making commitments, and following through. It’s about aligning your actions with your values and making conscious choices that reflect the person you aspire to be.

The Accountability Promise

Make an accountability promise to yourself—a vow to uphold the values of honesty, responsibility, and integrity. Write it down, reflect on it, and let it be the guiding light on your path to personal growth.

The Power of Now: Embracing Accountability Today

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Let that step be your decision to embrace accountability fully. Start small, celebrate your successes, and learn from each moment. Remember, accountability is not a destination but a way of traveling through life.

In embracing how to hold yourself accountable, you unlock the door to a life lived with purpose, passion, and profound satisfaction. It’s a journey well worth embarking on, a journey that leads to the true essence of empowerment and fulfillment.

Read More
Being Accountable
Accountability, Ego, Power, Self Solidarity

Being Accountable: The Ultimate Guide to Holding Yourself Accountable for Personal Empowerment

In our journey through life, the concept of accountability often acts as the bedrock upon which we build our most profound growth and transformations. Being accountable, or taking ownership and accountability of our actions, decisions, and their outcomes, is not just an act of courage; it’s an embrace of personal empowerment. It’s about holding yourself accountable for the life you lead, the choices you make, and the path you tread.

What Does It Mean to Be Accountable?

Being accountable is a dance with your highest self, where honesty leads, and integrity follows. It means standing in the light of your actions, decisions, and their outcomes with courage and grace. To be accountable is to embrace the reflection in the mirror of your life with acceptance, knowing that every choice you make paints the canvas of your existence. It’s a commitment to personal truth, where you hold the pen that writes the story of your journey, acknowledging both its shadows and its light. Being accountable is not about shouldering the weight of blame, but about lifting the banner of responsibility with a heart full of empowerment. It’s the bold step into authenticity, where you declare, “I am the architect of my life,” and with this declaration, you navigate the waters of existence not as a ship adrift, but as a vessel with a clear destination, guided by the stars of self-awareness and transformation.

The Essence of Accountability

Accountability is the invisible thread that weaves through the fabric of our lives, binding us to our integrity, values, and the truth of who we are. It’s a commitment to oneself, a vow to be honest, transparent, and responsible for our actions and their impacts on our lives and the lives of others.

Why Be Accountable?

Choosing to be accountable means stepping into a place of vulnerability and strength simultaneously. It’s acknowledging that we are the architects of our reality, that our decisions ripple outwards, affecting not just our trajectory but the world around us. In embracing accountability, we claim a powerful stance—ownership over our lives.

Holding Yourself Accountable: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Acknowledge Your Role: Recognize your part in the outcomes of your life. Understand that accountability begins with seeing yourself clearly.
  2. Embrace Transparency: Be honest with yourself about your motivations, actions, and their consequences. Transparency is the first step towards genuine accountability.
  3. Learn From Mistakes: View mistakes not as failures, but as valuable lessons. Each misstep is an opportunity for growth and a stepping stone on the path to empowerment.
  4. Set Clear Intentions: Know what you want to achieve and why. Clear intentions guide your actions and help you stay accountable to your goals.
  5. Make Commitments, Not Excuses: Commit to your decisions and the responsibilities they entail. Replace excuses with action and ownership.
  6. Seek Feedback: Be open to feedback from others. It can provide insights into how your actions affect those around you and how you can hold yourself more accountable.
  7. Regular Self-Reflection: Dedicate time to self-reflection. Assess your progress, realign with your goals, and adjust your actions accordingly.
  8. Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate your growth. Recognizing your achievements fuels motivation and reinforces accountability.

The Power of Ownership and Accountability

Ownership and accountability are more than ethical guidelines; they are catalysts for profound personal transformation. When we take ownership of our actions and hold ourselves accountable, we unlock a level of self-respect, confidence, and integrity that defines the essence of personal empowerment.

Accountability in Action

Imagine you’re navigating a ship across the vast ocean. Being accountable is akin to taking the helm, steering with intention, and adjusting your course when necessary. It’s recognizing when the winds have shifted and having the wisdom to correct your path. It’s about owning every decision, from setting sail to navigating storms, knowing that each choice brings you closer to your destination.

Cultivating a Culture of Accountability

Accountability shouldn’t be a solo endeavor. While it begins with the individual, its true strength is realized in a community, in relationships, and in teams. By fostering an environment where accountability is valued and practiced, we create spaces of mutual respect, trust, and collective growth.

Embracing the Journey

The journey to holding yourself accountable is ongoing, a perpetual cycle of learning, growing, and evolving. It’s about embracing each moment with honesty, courage, and a deep sense of responsibility for the life you’re creating.

In the grand tapestry of life, being accountable and taking ownership and accountability for our actions are threads of gold that illuminate our path to personal empowerment. They remind us of our strength, our humanity, and our capacity to shape our world. Let us step into accountability with open hearts and minds, ready to embrace the full spectrum of our experiences and the endless possibilities they hold.

Read More