Black Slang

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Cameron White
Writing 1
Section 30
Mellissa Fabros
Ebonics and its Handicap on Society
In today’s African American community, many speak and use a different form of “standard” English. Ebonics is a form of English that was established by the early US slaves in search of a reliable means of communication. During slavery, there were laws which mandated that any person caught teaching a slave to read or write could be fined and/or put in jail. This left them to fend for themselves and create their own form of communication. As time has progressed, the Black slag, known as Ebonics, is recognized by many as a less sophisticated form of English. From a linguistics stand point, the use of this slang leads to a negative reflection on the people within the African American culture. And it should be noted, this can be said for any culture within a society’s norms for language. The use of Ebonics merely handicaps the African American society and limits their success and respectability among the educated world due to its negative connotations and perceptions. Discussions revolving around Ebonics, and other types of slag for the matter, seem to evoke much emotion in people—and let’s face it, there are pros and cons on both sides of the debate. For the purposes of this paper, an emphasis is placed on the cons of the use of such slag. “The term Ebonics (a blend of ebony and phonics) gained recognition in 1996 as a result of the Oakland School Board’s use of the term in its proposal to use African American English in teaching Standard English in the Oakland Schools. The term was coined by Robert Williams in 1973, but it wasn’t until the Ebonics controversy that Ebonics became widely used. Most linguists prefer the term African American English as it aligns the variety with regional, national, and sociocultural varieties of English such as British English, Southern English, Cajun English, and so forth” (,...
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