The critical question Michelle addressed was an issue which, it turned out, was familiar to most of the students. Once again, Oakland took this too far. Mundane discussions dominated the agenda. It was used instead of the term Black English and is a combination of the words ebony and phonics. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Click here and use discount code Save Daniel discuss how the OCBE related myopia regarding African Ameri-cans’ language directly correlates with the “color line” in America.

Contact Contact Us Help. She showed how the admirable goals of a social policy can be shipwrecked by an ignorance of basic linguistics. In most Black families, if problems [in language] exist they are corrected long before the child enters school. Even when given the opportunity to address the public without media intervention e. The solution to this dilemma, however, is a particularly complicated matter, one which the Oakland school Board intended to resolve with their resolution.

Accessed May 22, Because some individuals strongly perceive that something inherently “bad” exists in atypical varieties of English, they may also suppose that African-American speak Black English to rebel and demonstrate contrariness. Staff The Black Youth Project is a platform that highlights the voices and ideas of Black millennials. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE.

Best in the business since ! As language experts, we know best that dialects are not evil or linguistically inferior, but are instead natural, rule-governed linguistic systems that allow groups of people to identify themselves in various ways socially.

Ultimately most of the harm done was at the hands of the media, who twisted and warped the resolution in order to form ridiculous myths ands stereotypes.

Project MUSE – Reflections on the Ebonics Controversy

Perhaps an even sadder reality with regard to the Ebonics controversy is [End Page ] that prejudices against AAE and misinformed notions about it are just as prevalent within the African American community as they are outside it recall the first student quote cited above.


Fillmoreprofessor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, argues that this unconstructive perception appeared to prominently portray the mindset of school personnel who typically responded negatively to African-American children who attended Oakland’s schools. You know dat Chicago train don’t wait fo’ nobody – it jes’ goes on – jes’ stops and goes right on. Email Us Listen to our radio ad!

One common misconception about the Oakland school board decision is that the intention was not to teach students how to speak in Ebonics, but rather use it as a bridge to understanding Standard English. Nevertheless, they often experience a dilemma as they aim to show respect of an African-American child’s way of speech and that respect leaves them without a way to teach that child Standard English.

This is where I believe that we as linguists have failed the most. The Black Youth Project is a platform that highlights the voices and ideas of Black millennials.

Officially known as the…. Considering all of the time and effort that the Oakland school board put into realizing this resolution, which included several months of research done by a specially designated task force, it is clear that they possessed the very same passion concerning the plight of many African American students that Michael Croghan highlights. Awareness of the history of Ebonics reveals the validity of the Oakland School Board’s demand for new procedures in the education of African American Students.

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ebonics controversy essay

Reducing African-Americans, their life, culture, and language, to the depths of the ridiculous has a long history in mass media. Thus it becomes clear that in order to ebonic validate the students’ community of origin while concurrently giving them the skills necessary to succeed in dominant society, educators need to recognize and understand Ebonics as a viable language system.


Hooked on Ebonics: the controversy that swirls around this “language” – The Black Youth Project

Unfortunately, some misguided statements in the resolution opened the door for a media frenzy that resulted in the dissemination of a number of linguistic misconceptions. During this time, Americans became fixated on Ebonics to an extent which resembled the historical focus on 0. Thanks for signing up!

ebonics controversy essay

The way I understand Ebonics is that it is a class for Black students who don’t speak “proper” English. Defenders of contrastive analysis say that students grow confused and frustrated when teachers ridicule them for their language.

Sulentic argues that Black English comprises a language in its own right. A bevy of misunderstandings, perhaps fueled by the initial draft of the resolution which may have essat some, however stimulated conflicting scenarios following the Board’s recommendation.

It seems to me that Ebonics is not really a grant of cultural freedom, but an admission of the intellectual inadequacy of a portion of our population. Our first writing assignment, an examination of the Oakland school board’s much debated resolution, brilliantly exemplifies both the power of language and the value of linguistic knowledge.

Language is not genetic. Although many Standard English speakers may have difficulties understanding the speakers of Ebonics, to say that it is a separate language, meaning that it is entirely incomprehensible to Ebonucs English speakers, is a far stretch.

Hooked on Ebonics: the controversy that swirls around this “language”

As a Black person, I am offended by this program. Some also assert that these students need to be punished to consequently correct them. Henry, did you evah see a mule as slow as dis one?