Mario Lopez, a popular American actor and television host, recently responded to claims that he code-switches, or changes his language and behavior depending on the social context. The claims arose after a video of Lopez speaking with a heavy Mexican accent went viral on social media.
In the video, Lopez is talking to his friends about Mexican food. He uses a number of Mexican slang terms and phrases, and he also speaks with a noticeable Mexican accent. Some people on social media criticized Lopez for code-switching, accusing him of trying to downplay his Mexican heritage in public.
On Twitter user wrote, “WHERE THE F did the accent come from???”
WHERE THE F did the accent come from???— DEL TORO (@bigloudeltoro) November 7, 2023
People finding put Mario Lopez is really Mexican & been code switching in the public all this time pic.twitter.com/cJwxXbuFWt— Rich (@RembertDesigns) November 7, 2023
Lopez set the record straight in another TikTok video.
He captioned the video “Ok, let’s set the record straight for the people in the back…
I’ma Mexican-American Actor/TV host with slang tendencies. Just not on TV!”
He started the video off stating, “Alright, so, all kinds of people just hit me up right now because apparently I’m trending on Twitter,” confusingly the TV host continued “And I was like ‘why what did I do’, I was trying to rack my brain.”
He further explained that he was made aware the reason he was trending was because people thought that he was not Mexican. He also cleared up the code-switching claims he uses different dialects and accents depending on who he is talking to and where he is.
“I think it is because I’ve been doing these food videos on social with my homies and it’s a lot of Mexican food,” Lopez said. “Ya know I’m talking. I’m sayin’ fool, homes and a lot of slang and just kind of being yourself.”
Lopez went on to explain that he feels like he has to be more polished and buttoned-up when he’s working. But when he’s with his friends and family, he can be more relaxed and authentic.
“I can’t be like that on Access Hollywood or my radio show. I’m trying to cash these checks, I can’t be sounding all hood.,” Lopez said.
Mario Lopez’s response to the criticism has been met with mixed reactions. Some people can understand how you have to turn it on or off depending on the setting. Others have criticized him for code-switching, which they see as a form of self-denial.
Code-switching: What is it and why do people do it?
Code-switching is the practice of using different languages, dialects, or registers of language depending on the social context. It is a common practice among bilingual and multilingual people, and it can be used for a variety of reasons.
One reason why people code-switch is to accommodate their audience. When someone is speaking to someone who does not speak the same language as them, they may code-switch to a language that both people can understand. For example, a Spanish speaker may code-switch to English when speaking to an English speaker.
Another reason why people code-switching is to express their identity. People may code-switch to a language or dialect that is associated with a particular culture or social group. For example, a Mexican-American person may code-switch to Spanish when speaking to other Mexican-American.
Code-switching can also be used to convey different social meanings. For example, someone may code-switch to a more formal register of language when speaking in a professional setting. Or, someone may code-switch to a more informal register of language when speaking to friends and family.
The controversy surrounding Mario Lopez
The controversy surrounding Mario Lopez’s use of different languages raises important questions. Is using different languages a form of denying one’s identity? Is it an attempt to fit into American society? Or is it simply a natural way for bilingual and multilingual people to communicate?
These questions don’t have easy answers. Using different languages, also known as code-switching, is a complex issue with different perspectives. However, it’s important to remember that code-switching is a normal practice for many people. It’s not a sign of denying oneself or trying to fit in. It’s simply a way for individuals to communicate in different social situations.
Mario Lopez took the commentary from social media users who accused him of code switching in stride. But it is a valuable contribution to the broader conversation about code-switching and identity.