Speech and Racism

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Orleander, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Is it racist to think someone who speaks eubonics is dumber than someone who doesn't?
     
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  3. Nutter Shake it loose, baby! Registered Senior Member

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    No.

    Understand that a member of any race can speak Ebonics.
     
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  5. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, I know that. I think others are racist for thinking only blacks do. Is that racist?
     
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  7. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

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    No. Just a misconception.
     
  8. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    is it a stereotype?
     
  9. Nutter Shake it loose, baby! Registered Senior Member

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    Wouldn't such individuals merely be misinformed, rather than racist?
     
  10. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    What if they think every black speaks like that, not just some. Is that also misinformed?
     
  11. Enmos Staff Member

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    Definition of ebonics ?
     
  12. Enmos Staff Member

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    African American English (AAE) is a dialect of American English used by many African Americans in certain settings and circumstances. Like other dialects of English, AAE is a regular, systematic language variety that contrasts with other dialects in terms of its grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.

    The terms used by scholars to refer to the unique language variety of many African Americans reflects the changing terms used to refer to African Americans themselves across the decades. Early studies of AAE in the 1960s used the terms Negro speech, Negro English, or Negro American dialect. Starting around 1970 and continuing throughout the decade, the preferred term was Black English or Black English Vernacular (BEV). In the mid-1980s African-American became the preferred term for black Americans, and by 1991 linguists were using the term African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Today African American English (AAE) is the generally accepted term, although AAVE is still used too.

    The term Ebonics (a blend of ebony and phonics) gained recognition in 1996 as a result of the Oakland School Board’s use of the term in its proposal to use African American English in teaching Standard English in the Oakland Schools. The term was coined by Robert Williams in 1973, but it wasn’t until the Ebonics controversy that Ebonics became widely used. Most linguists prefer the term African American English as it aligns the variety with regional, national, and sociocultural varieties of English such as British English, Southern English, Cajun English, and so forth.


    http://www.cal.org/topics/dialects/aae.html
     
  13. Nutter Shake it loose, baby! Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, the assertion is misinformed only if it is incorrect.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's common for people who speak the "standard" dialect of a language to feel superior to those who speak other dialects. Just look at the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady story. We don't necessarily think they're stupid, but at least uncultured. In the U.K., people send their children to schools where they'll be taught RP or "received pronunciation"--what we call Oxford or BBC English. Ironically that's a dialect that was completely made up in order to distinguish the educated from the un-.

    I have a friend from Virigina whose parents sent her to a private school so she wouldn't grow up with a Southern accent.
    Well, only African-Americans are likely to learn that dialect from their families as their natural speech. Euro-Americans generally only affect it for humor or to fit the cadence of rap music.

    Racism is a thorny subject in America. Arguably because we're the only country in the New World (except Haiti) that ended slavery by war instead of economics and attrition, there's a wound in our national spirit that still hasn't healed: between Northerners and Southerners, and between Euro-Americans and African-Americans. We are in fact the only country in the New World (except Haiti) that even has distinct populations of light- and dark-skinned citizens, each with their own dialect, music and social customs. Since that polarization is soooo 19th Century, it's hard to talk about any aspect of it without going out on a limb.
     
  15. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I know white kids who speak it. My son says they call themselves wiggers at school.
     
  16. Enmos Staff Member

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    Wiggers.. that stands for White Niggers perhaps ?
     
  17. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I think so. He wouldn't tell me, knowing how I hate the n word.
     
  18. Enmos Staff Member

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    That is a reference to African Americans, which indicates that they are emulating African American speech.. :shrug:
     
  19. Nutter Shake it loose, baby! Registered Senior Member

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    Correction: It is a reference to Negro Americans.
    African Americans consist of all races.
     
  20. Enmos Staff Member

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    What's your point ? The argument still stands..
     
  21. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think someone is necessarily stupid if they speak Ebonics. But there are some students in my English class who speak it, and when they write essays, they also write in Ebonics. So I think they are stupid if they are incapable of formulating a sentence in proper English. I think it is fine to speak however you want on the street, but in professional and official circumstances, everyone should know how to speak English.
     
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    But they don't speak it as their default. They speak it to gain the approval of the African-American kids, and probably also to outrage their elders. It's an interesting twist of history that African-Americans finally have enough influence that Euro-Americans (of any age) are starting to emulate their speech in order to gain favor with them.
    The word "negro" has fallen out of political correctness, as did "colored" before it, and the N word before that, which, ironically was merely Southern dialect mispronunciation of the Spanish word negro, which means simply "black" or "black person."

    Nowadays the sanctioned term is "black" or "African-American" with a hyphen to exclude Moors, Egyptians, Copts, Boers, etc. I prefer African-American because that carries the connotation of culture, and a person can decide to leave one culture and assimilate to another. "Black" is all about appearance, and a person cannot change his appearance. A "black" person will always be black, but an African-American can choose to assimilate into the mainstream community and become a plain unhyphenated American like the rest of us. This is an option that the mainstream community did not grant them until very recently so I use language that acknowledges this milestone in the progress of civilization.
    They're not necessarily stupid. They may come from a community where they never hear standard English at home, and it's a struggle to adapt.

    But if they actually know how to formulate a sentence in standard English and choose not to do so, they're being rebellious in a way that's going to impair their education, and that's stupid.
     
  23. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed, thing is, All the people in this class have already had to go through one or two English classes to get to this one. It makes me sad that a teacher who teaches grammar would pass a student who has no grammar and allow that student to go on to an advanced English class.
     

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