Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Black English" and Low Expectations

“It’s been a little scary. Sometimes it’s like she’s speaking Hungarian, and he’s speaking Cantonese. She’s been articulate, just in a different kind of English than mainstream English, she’s speaking Black English. Everything she says, where you can see the Twittersphere, or people I know thinking she’s making a grammatical mistake. If a Martian came down and the Martian happened to be in South-Central rather than in Grand Rapids, the Martian would have as hard a time figuring out how this dialect worked as any other. She said in the clip that ‘I had told you.’ Many people are thinking, ‘why is she using that?’ That’s Black English.”
So says a talking head on MSNBC when discussing the testimony of Rachel Jeantel.  A network that prides itself on being for the "little guy" and champion for minorities.  Really?  This is sticking up for minorities?  This is championing the cause of the inner city blacks?  I think not.  This is nothing but a huge insult as well-being more proof that the liberal mindset that they need special dispensation because obviously they are not able to better.  Another words, they are too stupid.  

I have heard many making fun of her and I am certainly not going to do that.  I personally find the entire episode sad and symptomatic of what is wrong with our education system and our society that we are willing to accept this.  I don't buy the argument that English is not her first language, she was born here.  I grew up with parents who didn't speak English as their first language either.  But I certainly learned it and so did all the children of my parents immigrant friends.  Kids especially will pick up languages quite quickly.  Outside of that even this talking head isn't using that as a reason.  This man is saying she is just an average black kid, talking like black kids do.  Why is this acceptable? 

This young woman will have a difficult time finding a good job.  She will likely stay in the confines of the inner cities.  But what really gets me about this is why does the black community accept this meme?  Why aren't they up in arms over these comments?  This is saying this is about what we can expect of the black community and we just shrug and say, hey this is the culture.  Why aren't we trying to change this culture?  Why aren't we saying there are obvious problems and these problems need to be addressed and addressed now?  

Don't they understand that they have been called too stupid to speak proper English?  That by accepting this, in reality they are accepting the low expectations that have cursed that community?  Lets face facts here, the black population is only around 12% of our population.  Yet somewhere around 27% of the welfare given out goes to that community.  They are living in poverty in higher numbers than others.  Isn't this part of the reason for that?  We have accepted that they have a "culture" that allows them to speak almost incoherently in a setting such as a courtroom.  She came across as ignorant as well as outright belligerent.  

I would have felt so much better if MSNBC was screaming about how poor of an education this young woman received.  Now she is far from the only person who can't read cursive, I asked a 16-year-old suburban white girl yesterday, and she says that she has a hard time reading it as well.  She doesn't write that way, and her public school has done little to nothing to educate her on that type of writing.  Cursive is being taken out of public and private schools at an alarming rate, and I say it is to the detriment of our society.  It is a skill that shouldn't be tossed aside simply because we are more of a technological society, learning how to write properly will also help with other skills such as reading and comprehending what you are reading.  

We can't keep saying well that is just culture when it comes to these types of things.  We need to start asking why is this considered acceptable?  Why is this "just culture"?  What does this say about our culture? 

I want to make it perfectly clear, that I am not making fun of this young woman.  Exactly the opposite.  I think we need to do something that stops promoting this meme and stop coming out with comments like this is "Black English".  We shouldn't be accepting that the simple act of speaking is done along racial lines in this country.  We should have but one "English" in this country.  

My advice to Ms. Jeantel is to go to your local public library, they normally have some sort of class that can be taken at no charge to address your language deficiencies.  Then you won't have to accept whatever job you can find and just get by.  Sadly, the talking heads at MSNBC seem to think that is all you are qualified for.  With a little help and motivation on your part, I think you can prove them wrong.  

3 comments:

LL said...

Engaging Ebonics Translator:

Yo dat beotch has uh filthy mouf. You wouldn't wants it on yo' dong Jus' like Orenthawl James. Ifn yo' axed me, I be sayin' de nigger talk be betta dan whitey ass chat, ya dig?

"Black English" just serves to remind everyone that negroes are not equal to polite society. It keeps the black man on the plantation. And they can decide for themselves whether it's comfortable there or not. There is always another path.

Deekaman said...

It is incumbent upon the "elite" to keep the "undesirables" in their place and voting for the status quo. This is why Blacks are encouraged to keep their ghetto culture, why we ensure immigrants do not need to learn English and why the public schools abandon the most vulnerable. It is not, it cannot be coincidental.

net observer said...

I thought her attitude was much worse than her articulation.

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