Thursday, May 5, 2011

Random Blog #2

It was in 1996 that the Oakland School Board in California attempted to pass an Act in which a secondary language would be added throughout the school systems of Oakland.  Lessons, as well as all books, would be printed in both standard English, as well as this new form.  This new form of course being none other than Ebonics.  Ebonics is otherwise known as African American Vernacular English, and is basically a slang version of the standard proper English that is spoken every day. 
                A group of researchers conducted an experiment in which inner city high school students took two different exams.  The first exam was in standard English, while the second exam was in Ebonics.  Post experiment data concluded that the high school students from the inner city scored higher on the test that was given with the Ebonics.  As a result of this, Ebonics was beginning to be pushed down the throats of school boards left and right, the most famous being Oakland, California, who really had intended on incorporating the language within their curriculums. 
                Before I give my take on this topic, I would like to start off by saying that I am in no way racist towards any individual group of ethnicity, nor do I ever intend on being so.  people are people and that's all there is to it.  Now, when it comes to Ebonics I was appalled to see the modern English that I have always studied so closely, in order to learn every correct formality within the language, was being completely tossed aside for this new wave of a slang version.  All proper mechanics and rules had be negated and thrown out the window, making way for this extremely informal language.  At first I thought the fact that an actual school board was attempting to use this language within their school system was a joke, but I slowly saw how serious they had been about it at the time. 
                In the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary of the English Language, I was able to find a quote within the introduction to the dictionary that completely agreed with my feelings towards Ebonics.  " Not included in the concept of slang are dialect, profanity, and the so called four letter words once taboo in polite-society, now increasingly accepted.  It is also important to recognize that most slang is colloquial in nature in that it occurs in speech much more frequently than in writing."  With this being said, it is perfectly fine to use whatever slang/dialect an individual desires, when he or she is in a casual environment.  However this is very different when t comes to ether a formal setting, an educational/institutional setting, as well as within the workplace (also somewhat depending on the job itself).  What it all comes down to in the end is the ever so beautiful concept of Culture of Power.  One should be allowed to speak whatever slang or even language they desire, but they are taught within the education system the correct practice and use of Standard English, as this is the language that is the dominant force within our society today and will continue to be so for centuries to come.  Let me know what you think on the issue.

1 comment:

  1. Delpit was strongly opposed to this action by the Oakland schools. Check this out: