Token Black Girl

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Token Black Girl continued

Okay so last week I vented and I thought I completely got it all out of my system, but once again this week I felt the enormity of being the single solitude black student in my credential courses. I have a new teacher this week, one whom I feel I will really do well with. I have already learned a great deal from him in just one sitting. The man is a great teacher, I can already tell. So despite the fact that I am super tired (haven’t slept in more than 24 hours) I find myself actually hanging onto his every word, I am truly engaged, until he brings up Ebonics. As usual during this discussion I studied the complexities in the varying textures of the carpet as to avoid being called on as the token black student yet again. I have issues, I know. But back to the discussion of Ebonics and why I was so repulsed by it. This has been recognized as an official language by the American Society on Language or some such organization that makes these kinds of decisions. I appreciate that my teacher did take time to admit that this organization is largely white run, but still I sat in semi disgust. Again, why are Anglo - American people making all the calls regarding Black American language?


I know that I likely stand alone and vastly unsupported on the subject, but Ebonics is not a language; it shouldn’t even be a word. Ebonics is simply a derivation of the English language. So it is said that it is a mixture of the African and English languages, but have yet to see the relevance. That simply makes it a dialect of the English language in my opinion. Ebonics is slang. However the Anglo American Society grants it as an acceptable form of language, and some even encourage using Ebonics as a teaching tool to help immerge African American students into American English. WE SPEAK AMERICAN ENGLISH!!!!!!! While I have known most if not all the black people that I know to fall into this slang vernacular in conversational language, we know how to turn it off and know when it is and is not appropriate. Those of us who do not know this are suffering from poor home training, not language acquisition!
Okay, so maybe I am a little of a conspiracy theorist and still hang on to some of the anti “the man” propaganda from an era before my time but I feel like it is a setup. By teaching our children that this slang terminology is its own language and perfectly acceptable we are limiting their potential. If our children walk into a job interview speaking “Ebonics” quoting it as their cultural language they will not be offered extra pay for being bi lingual, they will have their resume shredded because they are so “ghetto” (which is a term for a whole other blog). If our children sit before a review panel for scholarships and speak that way, they will not be taken seriously at all, even if they can prove that Ebonics is a proven justifiable language and should be accepted (unless they are an athlete of course). I’m just saying, it seems like yet another scheme to set the Black American people up for failure. It’s okay to teach our children mediocrity and hood slang in school as a foreign language? Has the hood become our foreign land, our designated territory? We are not foreigners. This is our country and it was built on the sweat on the backs of our not too distant ancestors. My only question is when will we as a culture uncover our eyes and stop believing everything that we are told. When will we say enough is enough? When will we demand justice and equality for our children in the school system? No one is saying that we should give up who we are in order to assimilate to European culture, but if English is the language of money and success (and it is by the way), then teach our children in English! But what do I know; I’m just the token black girl?

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