Jesse's right [was Ebonics]

Subject: Jesse's right [was Ebonics]
From: "Kenneth M. Nuckols" <KNuck -at- BESTBUY -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 1996 09:56:05 -0600

Hey gang,

I've tried to keep my nose out of this issue for a long time. After all, I
believe that it's far better to keep quiet and let everyone think you're an
idiot than to open your mouth and prove it (as a lot of folks on both sides
of this argument have done lately, IMHO). Well, here I go adding my own
voice of insanity to the chaos...

I'm surprised that it happened, but finally I agree 100% with Jesse Jackson
on something. He says legitimizing and funding the "re-education" of black
Americans who use this dialect is both patronizing and racist. I agree
totally. After all, would we in white America agree to fund programs to
teach New Yorkers, Minnesotans, Georgians, or Valley girls how to speak
proper English? No. And why not? Because the presumption is that these
people are smart enough to use proper pronunciation, grammar, and syntax,
but simply have a different dialect from the "standard."

However, what are we saying about black Americans if we fund a program to
legitimize and "re-educate" those who speak this so-called language of
Ebonics? We [and I use the government "we" not the populous, becuase I
doubt any of us on the list agree with this any more than I or the Rev.
Jackson do] are saying that black Americans are too stupid to know the
difference, aren't we? We're essentially saying their speech is not a
dialect--it must be some genetic or cultural deficiency that keeps them from
understanding how to speak "properly." This is the real opinion of the
elitists supporting "re-education" programs for black Americans, no matter
how they try to fool themselves into believing otherwise.

I don't think black Americans are stupid or lazy for speaking the way they
do--far from being something that's "natural," "genetic," or "cultural,"
Ebonics is an affected form of speech, like Jive, that allows black
Americans to set themselves apart from the madding crowd. Consider this:
Ebonics may be a protest language--less specific in focus but no less
complex than the codes used by Roman-era Christians and Jews for being able
to talk about their religion in a corrupt pagan empire without suffering

I wonder if the Romans ever considered government-funded theological
"re-education" for those "lazy, stupid, people" who were so poor they only
had one God...

Happy Holidays, and have a great New Year!

Standard Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in the preceding are
those of the author only. They do not reflect the corporate policies
or opinions of the author's employer.
Kenneth Nuckols Best Buy Co., Inc.
Corporate Trainer 7075 Flying Cloud Dr.
Eden Prarie, MN 55344
Ph: (612) 947-2518 FAX: (612) 996-4242

"I am Ed McMahon of Borg: You may have already been assimilated!"

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