Subject: EthnoDiversity
From: Edward Savitz <sg94cshj -at- DUNX1 -dot- OCS -dot- DREXEL -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 00:12:26 -0500

Ethnic Diversity in Communication.

This may be off subject, but I do not think so.

I teach at a so-called "inner city" college, Community College of
Philadelphia. My style is somewhat less formal than John Housman in The
Paper Chase (i.e., I get down and dirty. I can talk "street" when I want
to and a touch of slang in several Spanish-speaking nationalities. I can
explain Random Access Memory in Rap!)

I am occasionally criticized by some for not adhering to the stringent customs
of language and demeanor by those of my colleagues whose sphincters
have sealed shut a long time ago.

At the same time, when I hear a student ask, "Do he mean that if...?" I
say, "Does he ...?"

If you cannot reach the audience, finely-honed prose isn't worth the air
that carries it.

My answering machine bears a message in English and Spanish that I
recorded. Why? Not because I am saying that English is not our official
language but because I believe it says something positive about cultural
and ethnic diversity, multi-lingualism as a sign of cuture; not a
political statement, and so on, ad nauseum..

Communication is for communicating. (quote: CEO and Head Department
Chairperson, Office of Repetition and Duplication in Triplicate Office)

At an IBM board meeting, a senior VP is not going to say when hastily leaving,
"Hey, man, I gotta jet." And if she does, so what?

There are places and times when the corporate tongue is spoken. That will
not change.

Let's not be so linguaphobic (I made that up) that we shut off cultural
diversity from our verbal communication.

Gracias por su atencio'n.

Ed Savitz
sg94cshj -at- post -dot- ocs -dot- drexel -dot- edu

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