Say What?

I suggest that all schools teaching minority students who are aggressively attached to their slang have them watch the movie My Fair Lady. And the homework will be the following essay questions: “What would Eliza have given up if she had refused the opportunity to learn high-class mannerisms, accent, and phrasing? What would her future prospects have been if she had chosen to retain her low-class dialect? How do you think that your manner of speaking comes across to (a) your peers, (b) your elders, and (c) people outside your culture? Do you use different language to address different groups of people? What dialects are associated with poverty in America? What dialects are associated with wealth?”

The class would then spend several lessons discussing code switching and how different modes of speaking communicate nonverbal messages about the speaker, and how to use it most effectively to maximize one’s opportunities in life.

Public schools, however, will probably just tell the poor ghetto students that anyone who expects them to learn and use proper English grammar and syntax is a racist. What’s the literacy rate in Detroit, again?

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About pancakeloach

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