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Symone D. Sanders Offers Advice to Those Who Practice Code-Switching

Symone D. Sanders is one of the few people who tell it like it is in the world.

The Democratic strategist, who served as Bernie Sanders’ national press secretary during his run for president, is also a political commentator on CNN.

She regularly shares her views about politics on social media, and during an interview with ESSENCE, Sanders weighed in on the age-old practice of code-switching.

“I call it having a work voice, and I don’t have a work voice anymore,” Sanders said. “My work voice used to be found on my voicemail, on a conference call in the office, or when I work somewhere new. I don’t even talk like that.”

In contrast to the practice of code-switching, Sanders encourages everyone to be who they are, even in the workplace.

“I was talking to some student leaders and one of the questions that they asked was, basically, how can I effectively code-switch at my internship?” Sanders said. “And I’m like, ‘You all are sitting at one of the most premier universities in the country, and a Black university at that, and you have the audacity to sit in here and ask me, how can you code-switch? I don’t have an answer for you.’ What you’re basically asking me is how can I be more palatable for my coworkers that don’t look like me. What I tell the people is there ain’t nothin’ special about Becky,” she added. “No offense to any Beckys out there, but ain’t nothin’ special about Becky, Tom or Joe. Becky, Tom and Joe just show up every day being themselves and so you, Sharita, Kiki or Symone, should be empowered.”



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