ABSTRACT

Mock Spanish functions at the blurred boundaries between public and private talk, it illustrates the permeable boundaries of language itself. Mock Spanish moved into public discourse in the last decade, at the very same time that heightened concern about language boundaries, in the form of the Official English campaign, has grown in American life. The preference for the middling style blurs the boundary between serious public discussion and light private talk, such that elements of the latter, in the case Mock Spanish slang, may leak into public usage. By examining the ways in which the racist register of Mock Spanish can leak across the public-private boundary, it perhaps make progress in understanding how this reproduction occurs, and thereby develop strategies for intervention. David Palumbo Liu suggests, in an analysis of the media characterization of racist alignments in the recent Los Angeles riots that Hispanics in some contexts can stand in as a surrogate for more dangerous and problematic African Americans.