Black English use in education by african americans


As an African American, I am well versed in what is currently being referred to as Black English.  During my lifetime one has come to know Black English as slang or Ebonics. In my opinion,, there is no such thing as Black English.  I disagree with people who claim that negative language attitudes against Black English are a refection of racism.  The term Black English infers only blacks or African Americans who use this style of speech. Slang can be tracked to every language in every culture. People of all nationalities speak it. Throughout the rest of this paper, I will refer to Black English as slang.


There are a time and place for everything and that includes the utilization of slang.  Slang should be used in informal environments with individuals who understand it. Individuals using slang may be of any race.  Using slang promotes solidarity.  Often, society teenagers develop and use what I will refer to as the “slang of the times”.  This was evident, in the 1970s when the younger generation was referred to as hippies and spoke slang called  “jive”.


Slang will never lead toward a relationship that fosters success in the educational or occupational environment.   Therefore, one does not support teaching slang in the school.  All children regardless of race need to speak proper English.  Teaching slang in the school systems will cloud the line between the right time and place.  Slang is a fad, but if taught in school it has the potential to do more harm than good.  In the article on Black Vernacular English on page 150, the author states that no one proposed a plan to teach Yiddish, Italian or Hispanics children any differently. When children enter school they are required to use and speak English.   This applies to children of all races. There is no valid reason for making exceptions.


Society has set English as the standard language and despite what everyone thinks corporate racism is still alive and well.  There are many people who would spoil the ambition of African Americans, including those that are well-spoken. This cannot be controlled; therefore all African Americans must do everything possible to overcome these obstacles.  It is imperative African Americans learn and speak proper English.  If this does not transpire we cannot expect to make economic advancements.  Employers expect prospective employees to speak English. They will not hire individuals, black, white or any other nationality that cannot speak proper English. You must be able to hold an intelligent conversation and write effectively.  Despite all changes, society does not accept or respect people who appear to be ignorant.


Teachers and parents should know and understand their children; this includes the slang they may be speaking. Understanding their style of speech will enhance one’s ability to communicate effectively. Raising teenagers requires the ability to effectively understand and speak their language. A strong parental relationship may be dependent on a parent’s ability to relate. Within any community, one must be able to relate and understand their surroundings. Understanding what is said may be key to your safety and success.


In Conclusion, slang has been around forever.  People from many different cultures use slang. It is a form of communication, which promotes commonality. I do not agree with teaching slang in the school system because I believe it will hinder the chances of African Americans in achieving economic success. Teachers and parents need to understand slang so they can better relate to their children.  Society does not accept or respect people who appear to be ignorant.  Therefore we must do everything possible to prepare our youth for success. This includes teaching proper English.


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