EbonicsThe other day I was talking on the subject of Ebonics. I feel Ebonics should be a language. I mean black adolescents that are seen as stupid and non-educated mostly use it. The talk compelled me to do some extensive studying on the subject.
Ebonics is the new academician’s jargon or buzzword for what we used to call ‘Black English.’; Ebonics comes from the root word Ebony that means black or dark. So since Ebonics is considered Black English I am assuming that the word is the only possible reason for calling it that.In Oakland, CA, which is the city that is home to the first school board in the nation to proclaim, that Black English is formal language. For centuries, racist educators have used language as a weapon to sabotage the education of Black English speaking students. It has been a handy tool to label them ‘retarded/slow’;, and warehouse them into special education curriculum, and set them upon fast tracks to lifetimes of academic failure.
Black English is a combination of African languages and Standard English. African Americans should be awarded linguistic medals of Honor for it creation against impossible odds. To deter rebellion and increase fear and control, slave masters deliberately separated African slaves from fellow members of their tribes. Often, these same slave masters were functionally illiterate and ignorant of English themselves. From that linguistics stew of confusion, we fashioned a formal Black English. Just as in French, many of these languages have no ‘th’; sound. Instead the French speak ‘t’;. Instead Africans speak ‘d’;.
Thus, ‘theatre’; becomes ‘tayatra’; and them becomes ‘dem’;.Many native African words are included in Standard English vocabulary. For example ‘okra, uh-huh, and uh-uh’; are all formal African words.
But, as Black English is slandered as mere ‘slang’;, African contributions are also ignored. In this racist America, everything ‘black’; is bad. (Examples: Blackmail, Blacklist, Blackball) And, everything ‘African’; is very black and very bad.Black neocons and racist whites who slander and resent Ebonics are only behaving as always. They always reject all that is Black.
These same persons revere ‘differences’; in other languages. Shakespearean English is regarded as theatrical and scholarly. French, Spanish, and Japanese are viewed as profitable and chic. Clearly, Black English is not being rejected for it’s difference, but for it’s blackness.Some dare to claim that English and Black English are too similar to be separate. French is similar to Creole, and Spanish.
But, no body is slandering any of these languages. Some dare to reject Black English because elite blacks do not speak it. Many elite Chinese Americans does not speak Chinese. But neocons wouldn’t dare ignore those Chinese students who did speak it. So people proclaim the Ebonics will increase segregation. That is Bullshit! In the real world, race and class segregate us more than ever before.
Students who speak Black English are unfairly forced to both decode and translate, simultaneously and automatically. Just as with all other linguistic instruction, Ebonics will be used as a bridge to help black students master English. Such mastery is mandatory for success in the world where Standard English rules in every area. Like all racist fears, this is totally ludicrous.Our cultural differences are real. Students should not be academically abused because of them. Ebonics will be victorious in academics.
It will intellectually empower Black students. Keep watching black students. I presume that you will see a sudden and drastic increase in Black honors students and graduates. You will see far less Black students being labeled as retarded or suspended, and dropping out. Reference Page for Info:People Magazine; March 18-25 1996Webster’s English to French ; French to English DictionaryA television show entitled: ‘Ebonics, the forgotten language’;