From: GirlWriter -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 1996 09:12:35 -0500

You cannot, regardless of your intention or enthusiasm, negate an entire
culture's mode of communication. I am black, African-American, whatever you
want to call it, and I am a tech writer and playwright. I can and do use
both forms of English, and I will not allow any of you to call it "bad
English," or anything else, with impunity. Granted, it may have some of its
roots in the systematic miseducation and noneducation of our ancestors, which
means its origin is "bad" ... in any event, it's here now, and no mainstream
group can simply say, "Oh, we know our ancestors oppressed yours and only
recently began offering you access to quality educational facilities, but
whatever, dude, we're tired of this vernacular of yours now, so let's all
just adopt a common language, and of course it should be ours. Cool?" I
think not.

I love the richness of the African-American lingo, and I will continue to use
it when I am around my family and black friends (and some white friends who
have enough culture and education to understand it ... hey, that's a thought.
why don't you white folks just learn our lingo? we've struggled long
enough to conform to yours ...)

I will also continue to use the "King's English" when I am in business and
professional settings. And that isn't because I think it's better than the
lingo I use at home; it's because that's what those folks out there
understand, and I do what is necessary to advance myself.

The bottom line, I think, is that black children do need to know the standard
English. They already know the other, so it's not even a question of
"legitimacy." It's legit because it exists. Period. What educators should
do is continue to hammer away at them to learn the other English so they can
compete and survive in the mainstream, and if the educators need to
re-educate themselves to be able to do that, then THEY should be taking
Ebonics, 'cause the kids they teach already know it.

Please be aware of the impact of your opinions on those of us who read them.
It is the equivalent of suggesting that the whites should stop tanning ...
everybody knows tanning is stupid and harmful, yet zillions of you do it.
It's a cultural practice for you, apparently, so more power. Live and let
live. Ain't nut-tin but a thang, homes. (Translation: it's no big deal,


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