Monday, September 03, 2007

Must not Laugh at Black Dialect

A Houston police officer has produced great outrage for distributing a booklet (a "Ghetto handbook") that offers interpretations of black speech:

"The booklet billed itself as a guide to Ebonics, teaching the reader to speak "as if you just came out of the hood." It included definitions such as "foty: a 40-ounce bottle of beer"; "aks: to ask a question"; and "hoodrat: scummy girl."


If many blacks do talk like that what's the problem? They are obviously happy to single themselves out in that way so why should anybody get steamed over it? They make their choices as we all do.

And isn't it racist to regard black speech as unmentionable?

And let me suggest a truly AWFUL possibility: If Ebonics is widely mocked and disparaged it might cause some blacks to learn the better English that they need to succeed at school.