Ebonics

.. t cannot be considered a dialect but it can be considered a form of improper English, slang or jive. According to Zeis (1997), when high school students who speak ebonics go to college, they will have to take English 101 because they are classified as foreign speaking students whose first language is something other than English. Black English is a representation of the culture of many African American students and teachers must recognize this use of language and in doing so, they also acknowledge the rich culture of the students that has been marginalized for years. Educators in California believe that these students can only learn through their roots and that the only way they can get African American students to learn Standard English is by using Ebonics as bridge. According to Wasserman (1997), this concept is ludicrous. It seems like educators are turning to desperate measures to improve the chronic gap in academic achievement between black and white students (Sanchez.

1997. P. A1). In addition, Wasserman (1997), believes that such an act will only shortchange the students in the long run. According to Woodall (1997), if these students want to work in the future, they will have to learn Standard English.

The United States is a competitive world and many businesses require certain tools and skills, among them is a strong command of the written and spoken Standard English, to obtain a job. By teaching and encouraging African American students to speak ebonics, educators are allowing these students to believe that this manner of speaking is acceptable and will give them an entry to society and the workforce. However, ebonics does them no favor at all (Woodall. 1997. P.1).

Some educators believe that by instituting ebonics in the school system will result in the further erosion of our educational system. In order to graduate for high school, there are some prerequisites that must be completed which are the necessary standards of mathematics, science, and English, for the purpose of producing successful citizens of our country (Cuckler. 1997. P.1). According to the article Ebonics and Education (Internet), Standard English is the language of economics and it would cause problems within the economy and society if students assume that learning ebonics will help them progress.

Throughout this paper, there are various views on the use of ebonics in the schools and in society. These ideas are all put in a way, which softens the blow on this sensitive manner. However, there are those who feel very strongly about the issue at hand. According to Banks (1997), racist educators have used the education of Black English speaking students as a weapon to sabotage their learning for centuries. To many educators, the ebonics system has been a “handy tool used to label them retarded, warehouse them into special education curriculum, and set them upon the fast track to lifetimes of academic failure (Banks. 1997.

P.1).” As stated before, there are many African words that which have been incorporated in American English such as “uh-uh, uh-huh, goober and okra.” Banks (1997) supports his ideas by stating that African contributions are ignored because society has labeled Black English as slang. Banks sees this society as a racist one where everything black is bad “i.e. blackmail, blacklisted and blackball (Banks. 1997. P. 2).” Banks fails to take mention that not all words associated with black are bad. For example, when someone in an economic situation is in the black that is a positive and good factor.

There are many other languages in use by students that are considered to be good. Students read Shakespeare in the classroom but Shakespearean English is not portrayed to be slang but theatrical, scholarly and great works to read. Languages such as French, Spanish and Japanese, according to Banks (1997), are viewed as “profitable and chic.” However, Banks suggests that “Black English is not being rejected for its difference, but for its blackness (Banks. 1997. P. 2).” By declaring ebonics as a separate language from English, the Oakland school district has pole-vaulted ebonics from what some have considered a slang language and improper English language to a bilingual issue. Since the school district sees this population as bilingual they feel that courses, curriculums, classes and teachers should be made available to instruct the Black English speaking students.

In doing so, the Oakland school district will become eligible for federal funding. According to the Applebome (1997), Oakland school districts are asking for $2 million to be spent over a five-year period on the ebonics program. Many criticize the Oakland school district for exploiting the bilingual program to get federal funding. The formation of one’s ideas is very complex and at times it is also related to one’s own language capacity and/or dialect ability. However, I agree with may of the educators and people who have voiced their opinion on the matter of ebonics.

Students will need to know and use Standard English in order to function well economically, socially and professionally in society. In addition to the outward form of Standard English, students must also have the written ability of English, which means the proper use of spelling of words, appropriate use of grammar, punctuation, etc. Many of the African American students are unable to pass tests or receive low IQ scores because of the fact that they do not have a grasp on Standard English. By constantly correcting of ebonics and promulgating the correct forms of Standard English in the classroom, will help the students in the long run. After repeated corrections and developments of lessons to encourage the use of Standard English, eventually students will begin to speak as it is being taught in the classroom by the teacher. In order for teachers to help the African American students, they should have a grasp of what is being considered ebonics.

This is recommended so that the teachers can understand the students and what they are trying to express in order to correct the incorrect speech patterns. However, even though I am suggesting that teachers should know basic ebonics to understand the students, I am not suggesting that ebonics should be implemented or use it as a bridge because it will eventually lead to the downfall of many schools and students. If our school systems were to incorporate an ebonics program, I believe that this would be highly damaging to the African American students. In a way, it is as if we are agreeing and encouraging for this type of English to be spoken. By doing so, we disillusion these students into believing that they are prepared for the future job market.

The total abolishment of someone’s culture is not the answer to the growing concern of the growing use of ebonics. The ultimate goals is to improve the communication between the teachers and the students in order to aid our future lawyers, doctors, politicians, teachers, etc. in reaching and achieving their maximum potential in school and in future references. Ebonics is seen as away to help African American students learn Standard English. Children to do not learn the same way so as teachers, we have to use any technique necessary to help our students. By instituting the ebonics programs, we will have a great number of students who are not prepared for the workforce.

I hate to speculate what will happen to them but it must be done. If these students are unable to find a job, most likely they will end up on public assistance, selling drugs on the corner or receiving minimum wage for the rest of their lives. This will lead to an even greater destruction of our economy, society, morals and in life in general. Two questions that arises are when is enough, enough? and what is next? First we pass ebonics as a language and get funding for bilingual courses. As a result, the whole secondary and university level of curriculum and coursework must be changed in order to accommodate this new program.

After implementing ebonics for African Americans, maybe a new proposal should be made to have the way Hispanics speak English in many barrios as a language and not a form of slang. We can call it Spanglish, which is a formation of some Spanish words and English words by combining to make a new word such as trocas, la yarda, el rufo, la marketa, etc. This sound ridiculous and that is the point I am trying to make. Spanglish like ebonics is not a language but a form of improper English or Spanish. Stop the insanity.

Social Issues.