In my most recent diary, Cultural Language, Linguistics, & the Ebonics Debate, I presented the readers with an opinionated response paper that I had written while in college. When presenting it, I failed to explain my purpose for posting it. Several commenters were offended by the content and felt that I may have been ignorant, naive, and/or disingenuous. I felt it was necessary to reply to their comments, which I did. However, I know that not all readers read the comment section, so I have reposted that general reply below, in order to avoid any more confusion. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
This is not part of the Race and Prejudice series. For me it wasn't a thesis or valued paper. It wasn't research. It was an opinion of what I thought about the book. I find the term Ebonics offensive, which is why I wrote in such a vein.
My thesis for graduation, however, was research and serious work. It's titled, The School-to-Prison-Pipeline: Are the State of Wisconsin Policies Targeting Black Youth for Incarceration.
In regard to defending this old paper, I will get serious and will say this:
What the book was trying to argue is that Ebonics (the spoken language that blacks were assumed to use) should be used in urban schools, so that the students would understand better, thereby increasing their ability to learn. It was their argument that black students weren't achieving because they weren't understanding what they were learning, because it wasn't presented to them in the language they used. And in typical fashion since the era of school reform began, drastic changes needed to be made. I found this offensive and decided to address it in the way that I did. And I think I raised a good argument. People speak with accents and different dialects. English is spoken in various ways throughout the country. And it is true that no one teaches in the accented English used by immigrants to this country in order for them to learn better. Why would blacks be singled out? English is English. And it should be presented in its proper manner whenever taught. The correct way. One must learn the proper way to read and write. We can't dumb ourselves down literarily. In regard to the statement about learning the slave master's broken English. Well, as offensive as that sounds, it is true. The Africans brought forcefully to this country had their own language and customs, but those were stripped from them. They had no choice. In regard to statements made about the way different people speak, it's true. Very few people make a big deal about the way southerns or east coasters speak. But a lot of blacks are often corrected when they don't add the past tense "...ed" to the end of a word, or an "..es" or make plural a noun, or when they use a double verb. The use of language to degrade blacks has been used since the Jim Crow era. And that history has moved into the present, only with more subtlety. I included a few websites for you to go to for reference.
And by the way. I wasn't being disingenuous. Quite the contrary. Based on the content of the book, and looking at what I had written in its regard, I realized that what I wrote was nothing less than a rant. I found it somewhat humorous and was, in essence, laughing at myself, which is why I presented it the way I did. That's why I said I would not be upset if someone disagreed. But in no way will I stand down from the content from which I have written. I'm not a linguist. I'm an educator and I take learning and the people capable of learning very seriously. I don't care much for school reform because our politicians rarely go into education with a plan. It's all knee-jerk reaction, which doesn't work in the real world. And I strongly support and stand up for minorities because in this society the odds are stacked against them. There are some minorities who have made it to the land of success, but many, many, more are stuck in an unending cycle of poverty and strife. Some of it is their own fault, but a lot of it is not. Not when we live in the richest country in the world. And I will not tell a person with no resources that they have to find a way on their own with no help. Not that every minority is an innocent bystander in their own quest for life, but I refuse to blame the victims for being systematically marginalized by the institutions that govern his or her lives. And I'm aware that a lot of what I usually write is sobering and even offensive to some, but people spend more time fighting to maintain their place in the racial stratosphere (which I find are the people already at the top) and not enough time trying to help the cause, so I write...to help the cause.
But when it comes to this work, because we all have our views - and because just because I'm right, it doesn't mean that you're wrong, it just makes us different - when someone finds opposition to my work, I must use the immortal words of Claude Adrien Helvetius: "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."