Re: Ebonics

Subject: Re: Ebonics
From: Deborah Meltzer <deborah -at- STARQUEST -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 10:52:13 PST

At 09:16 AM 12/20/96 -0800, Della Stein wrote:
>We have enough division (racial and otherwise) in our society without
>adding the likes of this.

>The motivation behind ebonics is educational improvements in the African
American community. Sometimes non-traditional methods are needed to motivate
children to learn. Ebonics may work as a motivator. It is part of the
African American culture. However, I think "ebonics" should be a history
lesson. It's great to know where you (or your community) has come from. It's
also good to know when to move ahead.

>Is this the proper forum for this topic? probably not.


I strongly disagree. Since we are crafters of words in English and other
languages, I think this is very much the proper forum. Whether there are
some individuals in the Oakland School District who have a hidden agenda for
implementing a policy that will eventually bring in federal funding, I don't
know and I'm not sure anyone can prove. What I am certain of is that there
are numerous hard working, dedicated, and sincere school teachers in this
school district who recognize that the present curriculum is not meeting the
needs of the majority of their students and are seeking ways to remedy the

African American English or Ebonics would be appropriate only as a history
lesson if it were no longer a living, breathing form of communication. This
is not the case. My understanding is that students would be taught to
translate Ebonics into standard American English both verbally and in
written form. It would be a means to both empower students to excel in
mainstream (ruling class) society AND dignify Ebonics as a legitimate form
of communication that has ancient roots which should be preserved. Would you
suggest to Spanish speaking people that they give up speaking Spanish among
friends and family in order to "move on?" The school curriculum HAS
historically treated Ebonics as illegitimate and indicative of intellectual
deficiency, and this has been to the great detriment of our African American
students and our society as well.


Deborah Meltzer
StarQuest Software, Inc.
email: deborah -at- starquest -dot- com
voice: 510/704-2554

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