From the student: I wrote my essay on Ebonics for an independent study project with Keith Gilyard. Like many people, I learned about the Oakland School District's 1996 proposal to use Ebonics in its schools, from the media. As a result, the iniative spurred controversy across the country. I decided to analyze how the media interpreted and presented the issue to the public. I was also curious how educators might incorporate Black English into their curriculums.
From the teacher: I could understand if Sergio felt weary after writing his essay. I pushedhim fairly hard, somewhat unfairly, on matters of sociolinguistics. But once he expressed interest in contributing clarity to the Ebonics controversy, my aim was to make his experience truly revelatory and transformative. I think we both attained our goals. Although Sergio doesn't consider how Ebonics functions as a resistance rhetoric—his linguistic examples and his portrayal of media hysteria are unerring. His pedagogical position is informed by some of the best work in educational theory as well as reconceptualized (perhaps?) personal experience.
Over the past year, the debate on Ebonics has virtually left the media spotlight. The proposal by the Oakland School District in early 1997 to use Ebonics to help African-American children learn Standard English met with much opposition. Few people supported the Oakland resolution which, backed by the Linguistic Society of America, acknowledged Ebonics as a language variety complete with its own syntax, structure, and rules of grammar.
The media, as with many issues, triggered a dialogue among Americans about the appropriateness of Ebonics in the classroom. "Are you for or against Ebonics?"was a common question many Americans pondered at work, at restaurant lunch counters, and in classrooms across the country. The issue divided Americans, not so much along racial lines, but along lines of understanding. Many people were unclear about the history of Ebonics, the premise and contentions of the Oakland School District's proposal, and the implications of educators beginning to appreciate Ebonics as a distinct language variety. Thus, part of this paper will explore further the educational implications of using Ebonics to improve the literacy of black students. This will be preceded by an analysis of how the New York Times and Los Angeles Times covered the Ebonics issue, and how each (to some extent) helped to legitimize and sustain negative attitudes toward Ebonics.
The Meaning of Ebonics
The term "Ebonics"was first coined in January, 1973 by Dr. Robert Williams, a professor of Psychology at Washington University. The term, which is a compound of "ebonies" and "phonics"(black sounds) refers to the language of West African, Cameroonian, and U.S. slave descendants of Niger-Congo origins. Some linguists disagree about whether Ebonics, or Black English as it is more commonly called, has African roots. To these scholars, blacks speak an unconventional dialect which differs according to United States region.
According to Ernie Smith, Ebonics represents an "underlying psychological thought process," which survives because the language is shaped by an outside culture, one that exists apart from mainstream discourse (15). Speakers of Black English often come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. It is within this context that Black English survives.
There are certain distinct patters of Ebonics: the aspectual be; stressed been, and multiple negation. The following are some examples:
Pronouns: Using a pronoun instead of "to be"; rearranging standard pronouns. My brother he bigger than you. Him aint playing.
'Have'and 'Do': Dropping the standard conjugations. He have a bike. He always do silly things. Using "do"instead of "if." I ask Elon do he want to play.
'To Be': Silencing "is" or "are," or using "be" instead; eliminating subject-verb agreement. He not home yet. I be here in the evening. I was; you was there; they was there.
Distinctive Words: A final S may be added or dropped. He want pancakes.
Black English and Standard English share many words in common, which might explain the resistance by many Americans to accept African American Vernacular as anything other than a dialect of English. In any event, Smitherman warns that Black English terms may be used differently or have unique meanings:
This is the source of a good deal of miscommunication and misunderstanding between (Black English) and (Standard English) speakers. In response to the question "Is she married?," the Black English speaker may answer "She been married." If the speaker pronounces "been" without stress, it means the woman in question was once married but is now divorced. If the speaker pronounces been with stress, it means she married a long time ago and is still married. (8)
Language is not the only thing that keeps speakers of Standard and Black English apart. There are social, cultural, and economic factors which strengthen the divide between both communities. Basically, whites have adopted a standard code which is used by government, popular media, and in everyday life. But, groups of people, especially black people, have been marginalized because they speak a language variety other than Standard English. Value judgments such as these are not acceptable in linguistics. Linguists argue that languages are legitimate when they are mutually intelligible and have "rule governed systems of equal complexity and interest" (Oneil 10). Despite this rule, a society will often privilege the language of its upper-class population.
Citing Swedish and Norwegian as examples, Oneil argued that similar languages can also be distinct because of their political positions. Sweden and Norway are only miles from each other, yet both countries have separate languages because of a physical border between them. Both languages, however, are Scandinavian.
Much like Swedish and Norwegian populations, African American children in the Oakland School District have grown up in social and political isolation, as do many black children across the country who are poor. These students suffer from social ills which make learning anything extremely challenging, much less a new language. Members of the OSD developed a proposal to help black children, despite their social constraints, achieve fluency in Standard English.
In response to the horrific performance of African-American children on standardized reading and language arts skills tests, the OSD proposed that black children, who accounted for 53% of students in the District, be taught Standard English in "their primary language for the combined purposes of maintaining the legitimacy and richness of such language."The Proposal noted that Ebonics had "historic bases of West and Niger-Congo African Language Systems."The Board insisted that its actions were based on a growing body of research which suggests that African American children learn to read more efficiently when their culture, and more specifically Black English, is the mechanism by which they acquire Standard English. The Proposal also noted that Asian American, Latino American, and Native-American pupils were already being served by literacy programs that recognized their first languages in teaching them Standard English. The Board told parents they could, if they wished, choose to "have their child's speech disorders and English Language deficits addressed by special education and/or District programs."
The Oakland School District, like many school districts around the United States, draws a huge proportion of its students from geographically isolated and poor communities. These communities foster an atmosphere where separate modes of communication develop because of the unique sociopolitical positions of the people who live there. Because the media's ideology generally represents white mainstream culture, it often reports inaccurately on the affairs of minorities. Such was the case with the Ebonics issue.
The Media's Response
The harsh criticism by the media, from the public, and from government, prompted the OSD to amend its original proposal in January, 1997, only one month after it had been written. Critics were appalled by the Board's assertion that Ebonics was a legitimate language, and that it had a "genetic"basis. The Board quickly clarified the latter saying that "genetic,"in a linguistic sense, meant that Ebonics had African origins. The word "genetic"was removed from the amended proposal.
The Proposal also clarified that some African Americans, but not all, use some form of Ebonics when speaking. And instead of referring to black children as "bilingual"in the traditional sense, the OSD called them "second language learners."This move was crucial because of the enormous pressure from the media and federal government to deem Ebonics-based programs ineligible for federal funding.
In a series of op-ed pieces in the New York Times, writers bashed and criticized the plan to use Ebonics in Oakland's classrooms. The media was outraged by the idea that the OSD could get money to support its initiative. A peripheral analysis of media coverage of Ebonics reveals that the public was not necessarily outraged by the District's proposal itself, but by the political and financial implications of recognizing Ebonics as a separate language. If Ebonics became a language, then American tax dollars would have to support Ebonics-based educational programs. Black English would also gain more notoriety, forcing the public and educators to recognize and embrace it. This form of radical progress threatened people who live and die by Standard English.
The media reported that society was not ready to accept Black English as separate but equal to Standard English. Instead, numerous newspaper columnists, educators, and private citizens argued that blacks needed academic rigor, not self-esteem enhancement—which many believed to be the primary objective of the Oakland School District's proposal.
Although enhanced self-esteem might have been one result of the initiative, the primary use of Ebonics, as stated in the actual proposal, was to improve literacy skills, as black students in the OSD were averaging a D+ in their classes. Seventy-one percent of black students in the District were classified as having special needs (Perry 1).
Despite the harsh realities of black students in the OSD, many people voiced their opposition to the proposal. A black university librarian and former teacher told the New York Times that using Ebonics would produce "self-satisfied illiterates who can't spell cat but have high self-esteem."An op-ed piece in the same newspaper read, "In the interests of self esteem, of protecting black children from racial shame, Ebonics makes broken English the equivalent of standard English."The author also stated that he believed Black English has no roots. The media capitalized on the public's sentiment.
Journalists slammed the Oakland School District for suggesting it might request federal funds for its literacy programs. Critics followed by saying that even if Ebonics were a legitimate language, black students needed to quickly learn the standard code to be successful in the United States. T.J. Rodgers, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company echoed this sentiment. "I see the embrace of Ebonics as a human and economic tragedy,"he said. Rodgers insisted that using Ebonics would compromise English skills. He told the New York Times that he would never consider hiring an Ebonics-speaking job applicant.
In total, there were ten articles on Ebonics which appeared in The New York Times in December, 1996. Of these articles which blanketed the National Desk and Op-Ed pages of the newspaper, six struck down the idea of using Black English in schools. The few articles that were not antagonistic toward Ebonics, were only supportive in that they presented both sides of the debate. For instance, one article reported that Jesse Jackson retreated from his initial condemnation of Ebonics. It explained Jackson's reasons for supporting the OSD's proposal. But, unlike the article on Jackson, other articles one-sidedly bashed the controversial plan.
One report titled, "School District Elevates Status of Black English"harshly criticized OSD board members. "Some critics of the decision described the policy as a cynical ploy to get federal money through bilingual programs rather than a valid educational approach,"read the article. The piece stated that scholars were divided on whether Ebonics had roots in African languages. But, there was no mention of the consensus among linguists that Black English is a legitimate form of communication shared by many African Americans.
John Baugh, professor of education and linguistics at Stanford University, showed his support for Ebonics in a New York Times article. His praise of the OSD was buried at the bottom of a commentary. He credited board members for bringing discussions of pedagogical issues affecting black students to the forefront.
The remainder of the articles were overwhelmingly against the OSD's proposal. Some of them mocked the assertion that Ebonics was a second language, and questioned why immigrants would have less trouble than native blacks learning Standard English. Black politicians also joined the debate. When asked how teachers should respond to Ebonics in the classroom, Will Thomson Jr., president of the NYC Board of Education said, "Teachers working with students should correct them."The New York Times, as in most its coverage of Ebonics, reported the race of the speaker. Thomson is black. And so is Chancellor of NYC public schools, Rudy Crew, who dismissed Ebonics as "going entirely in the wrong direction."Both men argued that the Oakland School District had lowered its standards, causing black students to fail.
Another article titled, "Black Voice of the Streets Is Defended and Criticized,"appeared in the Dec. 30th issue of the Times. The article implied that there were defenders of Ebonics, but did not document this support. Instead, reporter Steve Holmes argued that critics felt that the OSD's proposal sought to "legitimize what is essentially grammatically deficient English."
The Superintendent of California schools also jumped on the issue. She told the Times that she feared black students would be inadequately prepared for college and the job market. Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, agreed. "Black kids are always the kids in the petri dish,"Chavez said. The use of Ebonics in education is a silly attempt to help black students achieve academically, she added.
Countless others interviewed said they resented the District's charge that Ebonics was "genetically"based (a term widely misinterpreted by the media). The article featuring Chavez and others ran Christmas Eve. The report called Black English "black slang"and "street language."It also said that the board's policy was based on a "dubious body of research."Inner city speech, as the Times put it, "is best viewed as a variant of standard English that is colorful in its place."
Three thousand miles away the Los Angeles Times was also playing close attention to the Ebonics issue. The newspaper ran 14 stories about Ebonics in December, 1996. Of these, 11 trashed the Oakland School District's proposal. Unlike the New York Times, however, the Los Angeles Times'first two articles on Ebonics were extensive and well researched. Reporters explained the language behind the proposal, the history of Black English in American schools, and past and present legal challenges of getting federal funding for such programs. Unfortunately, anti-Ebonics sentiment soon took over.
On December 21st, the Los Angeles Times called Ebonics a "bad joke."The following day the newspaper wrote that designating Black English as a second language "is no cure for failures in the classrooms."On December 23rd, the Los Angeles Times focused on Jackson's opposition to the Ebonics proposal in its Metro pages. The articles lead said Jackson "blasted"the Oakland School Board's decision to recognize Black English as legitimate. "You don't have to go to school to learn to talk garbage,"read one quote that was set apart from Jackson's other statements. Maya Angelou also cast her vote against the notion that Black English had a place in the classroom.
On any given day, one could find jokes and attacks on Ebonics in the "Life and Style"section of the Los Angeles Times. It was obvious that journalists and their readership were not taking Black English seriously. On Christmas Day 1996, for example, one person wrote:
"Black English"or "Ebonics"is simply improper English, and fora school board to elevate it to standard English's equivalent is todoom the black students who speak it to wear a mantle of presumed ignorance. (B6)
One woman called the Board's proposal a "ridiculous idea."She insisted that black students could overcome their language difficulties, just as she had as a patois-speaking Jamaican girl many years before. It is important to note that the opinions of African Americans, by far, dominated the newspaper's reports on Ebonics.
Like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times interviewed many African Americans who were against using Ebonics in school. The subtle message of both newspapers was that progressive, middle-class blacks were denouncing Ebonics, and that others in the black community should follow. Both newspapers also interviewed black teenagers in their respective communities. As expected, these young adults rejected the ideas behind the OSD's proposal. They were embarrassed by the idea that they could acquire Standard English like everyone else. The Los Angeles Times'version of the story had a subtitle that read, "Nobody Goes To A Wedding in Sweats,"a quote from one of the teenagers interviewed. "I don't see why students in Oakland have to be treated differently,"said Terrance Braggs, a Los Angeles high school student. "I flip back and forth depending on whom I am talking to."A 13-year-old eighth grader added to the dialogue. "Teaching Ebonics is a bad thing,"said the middle school student.
Another black female student said she was inspired by television commentator, Tavis Smiley, because he had grown up in the inner city and was able to master Standard English. She told reporters that she did not see a need for black youth to use Ebonics in school.
Amidst the attacks on Ebonics by politicians, educators, and "speakers"for the black race, the Los Angeles Times ran the opinion of a bilingual University instructor who advocated federal funding for Ebonics-based programs. The instructor argued that teachers should respect Black English and not consider it "street language."His opinion was very unpopular. The consistent bashing of the Oakland School District's proposal overpowered the few articles that applauded the efforts of the OSD.
Because of the media's slanted coverage of Ebonics, the public debate focused on whether people were "for"or "against"Ebonics, as opposed to critically analyzing the potential uses of Black English in education. In other words, people were so preoccupied with determining the legitimacy of Ebonics, they neglected to talk about how black students might benefit from an alternative mode of instruction. Too many people were convinced (and still are) that Ebonics is just slang. But, Ebonics is a language in its own right, according to Mary Rhodes Hoover, a professor of education at Howard University. Hoover asserts that the distinct characteristics of Ebonics—its "semantics; intonation; sociolinguistic rules; speaking style; learning and teaching style; favored genres, and world view/themes"—should warrant it irrepressible in the classroom. But, too many inner city school teachers see Black English as meaningless mumbo jumbo:
Most teachers are not even convinced that the Black child's language has structure. That is, for the most part, they are not aware of thegrammar structure of African American dialect. (Kizza 8) The first step in reaching any group of students is to acknowledge their culture. "African American students would be well served if their teachers were trained in Ebonics"(Gilyard 24).
McKay says that becoming aware of students'language variation is the first of three steps toward bridging the gap between teachers and students. Instructors should also develop an awareness of language appropriateness. Lastly, teachers should create strategies for dealing with ambiguity, miscommunication, and other language-based problems. When this model is used, teachers and students will relate better.
Carrie Secret is a fifth-grade elementary school teacher in the Oakland School District. Her teaching strategies mirror McKay's ideas for overcoming communication barriers in the classroom. Secret's curriculum begins with the premise that students bring language from home that can be used in teaching them Standard English. But, students also know that there is a time and place for Ebonics:
I once had some visitors come to my class and they said, "We don'thear Ebonics here."But that is because I had explained to my childrenthat company was coming, and when company comes, we practicespeaking English (19).
Secret participated in California's Standard English Proficiency program (SEP), which has existed since 1981. There she learned how to use different techniques in teaching Standard English.
Other Oakland School District teachers who have completed the SEP program are also seeing positive results in their classrooms. Cleo Shavies says using Ebonics helps her to counteract the psychological distress many black students experience when speaking Standard English. Shavies reads to her second graders a book called, "Flossie and the Fox."Flossie speaks Ebonics; the fox speaks Standard English.
Students are quizzed on their ability to recognize differences between the standard code and Ebonics. Shavies calls the technique "contrastive analysis."She told "Newsweek"that she builds on what her students already know. "I can already see the improvement in oral language skills,"she said.
Shavies and Secret know that literacy is related to educational success. Students who are comfortable with their presentational skills, researchers say, are generally more apt to participate in classroom discussions.
Understanding that a linkage between literacy and educational progress does exist, Delpit sought to observe how pre-service teachers might respond to her effort to teach them a new language. During an activity which she performs often, Delpit asks teachers to speak a dialect where the first element "iz"is added after the first consonant or consonant cluster in each syllable of a word. Teachers must use "iz language"to tell partners their reasons for wanting to be teachers. Delpit finds that teachers usually have a difficult time doing this. They are linguistically paralyzed by trying to learn and convey ideas in what feels like a foreign language:
During a follow-up discussion, all students invariably speak of theimpossibility of attempting to apply rules while trying to formulateand express a thought. Forcing speakers to monitor their languagetypically produces silence. (51)
Indeed, students who are silenced are likely to be shut out from classroom discussions. They may also begin to think their experiences outside of school are invalid. Some research suggests that using students'prior knowledge as a foundation to learning helps students learn better. Students appreciate learning more when teachers incorporate what they know into classroom discourse. For many inner-city black students, an appreciation for academics can help offset the belief that to succeed means to cross-over and to "act white."Hanni Taylor contends that there are appropriate methods of building on student knowledge.
Teachers should nurture bidialectalism, which means they should acknowledge, respect, and honor the language and the people whom they teach. Educators should use students'first dialect in teaching them Standard English. They should demonstrate the differences between both languages to help students acquire the standard code, much like school teacher Cleo Shavies did in her classroom. Teachers should also understand the "cultural frameworks in which linguistic choices are embedded, a modified acculturation rather than assimilation to the mainstream culture, and movement from implicit to explicit contrasts of both language and culture"(Taylor 127).
Contrastive analysis, however, should not be overemphasized, Taylor says, because students may begin to perceive their first language as inadequate. The acknowledgment of both languages by a teacher can have positive effects on a child learning to read:
The native language of a child can determine his success in reading.Many researchers have long recognized that some children fail toachieve reading skills because of the difference between the languagespoken by the students and the language of the school. (Winters 6)
In a sense, then, teachers should find a bridge between the language they and their students speak. This may warrant that teachers become students in their own classrooms. Black students, like students of all ethnic backgrounds, have unique experiences that warrant attention in the classroom. It is essential that their culture and learning styles become incorporated into their education. When teachers can decode the language of their students (e.g. words like "hype"(nice) or "dis"(insult)), they do not see language difference as a hindrance, but as a tool for students to create and expand their options. And it is crucial that teachers see students as multifaceted—not limited. Educators lower their standards when they have negative prejudices of their students.
Although a growing body of research suggests that using Ebonics is helpful in teaching black children Standard English, there are those who disagree.
Patricia Williams argues that economics, black students'construed perceptions of success, and overcrowded schools are the real culprits of academic underachievement for many blacks. Poverty impedes the success of many black students, Williams says, and can make it difficult for students to learn the language of power. Gifted black students who excel are often criticized by peers for "acting white."These attitudes and conditions must be addressed before educators spend valuable time teaching students to translate their dialects, Williams argues.
California schools have long supported teaching English as a second language to African American students. But Williams has a problem with this approach:
One is forced, by sheer logic, to conclude that even if the fullscope of the Oakland School's resolutions recommendation were effective tomorrow, it would make barely a dent in theplummeting scores among African American children—it wouldbe akin to trying to put out a blazing house fire with an eyedropper.(13)
Williams'argument makes some good points, but fails to address several fundamental issues. Although an increasingly number of blacks have moved out of the inner cities and into the suburbs, a sizable portion of blacks remain in poverty. For black students living in these conditions, there is no immediate hope for a major education overhaul, or for a sudden increase in funding for substandard schools, or for an instant revitalization of their communities. These issues exist today and are real. The OSD had to consider these obstacles in creating its proposal. Illiteracy is one of many symptoms of social inequity. And when board members saw that a disproportionate number of black students in their district were unable to use Standard English effectively, they reacted accordingly, understanding that literacy is the foundation of academic success. Hence, it would have been nonsensical for the OSD to devise a pedagogical strategy that ignored the unique plight of the students it serves.
When one considers the predicament of the Oakland School District board members, the academic state of black children they were trying to rescue, and the inevitable doom these students would face if action were not taken soon, one can (or at least, should) understand why the Board proceeded the way that it did. Simply put, the OSD wanted to use unique teaching strategies for a unique group of students. They never said that African-American children were incapable of learning Standard English the "normal"way. Black children not confined by social and economic barriers have no problem acquiring the standard code. But, black students in the Oakland School District, like many black children from impoverished backgrounds across the United States, have a unique situation. They live in a culture that is defined by a different way of life and different way of speaking. The OSD had to deal with this issue first.
The media hype did little to help the Oakland School District. Instead of focusing on the substance of the OSD's proposal, journalists worked hard at creating a debate about the legitimacy of Black English, a language variety already deemed meaningful by numerous linguists and scholars for three decades. The media did not report that Ebonics is already a part of mainstream discourse. Not much was said about how influential figures like Jesse Jackson, Richard Nixon, Oprah Winfrey, Elvis Presley, Maya Angelou, Clarence Thomas, and Langston Hughes all use or have used Ebonics in speaking and/or writing.
The media and public failed to understand that Ebonics, rich in its complexity and history, was more than just "slang."It is a language variety with unique grammatical and rhythmic qualities. So why all the fuss? For one, people have long assumed that Black English was substandard and deficient. The fact that African Americans (who experience racism on all levels) are the primary speakers of the language did not help to garner respect for Ebonics either.
As a black Latino male who was educated in the inner city and who grew up listening to and sometimes speaking Ebonics, I have a personal connection to the issue. I could say, as I would have several years ago, that black students should just learn Standard English and leave Ebonics at home. Easier said than done. It would be silly to tell anyone to dismiss their language so that they could learn a new one. I never had to. I spent hundreds of hours in the mirror learning to speak "properly"because I had always dreamed of being a lawyer or television personality. I also wanted to "perfect"my English since I never learned to speak Spanish back to my parents.
And I certainly could not understand (and still don't) the third language, Carib, they speak to each other. There were also many times when I would record myself rapping on tape. I would force my sisters, parents, cousins, anyone, to listen to me "bust a rhyme."But my favorite part was always turning around and playing talk show host of my own rap show. The fluency I developed in rap helped me to become a better speaker, if you will, of Standard English.
I do not expect all black children to learn Standard English the way that I did. It was fun for me because I loved to read, rap, and speak. But, the transition may not be as easy for black children who would rather draw, play ball, or play a musical instrument.
Society's idea that black students are to magically jump from one language to another is absurd. The process requires both formal and informal preparation. The Oakland School District was well aware of this when it created its controversial proposal. No one ever said Ebonics was the answer to black students'academic problems. But it is always good practice to try new things that are a logical step in the right direction.
"Amended Resolution of the Oakland Resolution on Ebonics."(http://linguistlist.org/topics/Ebonics/Ebonics=resl.html)
Delpit, L. "Ebonics and Culturally Responsive Instruction." Rethinking Schools 12.1 (1997): 6-7.
Delpit, L. Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. New York: The New Press, 1995.
Gilyard, Keith, and Nicholas Stix. "Would Ebonics Programs in Public Schools be a Good Idea?" Insight on the News 31 March 1997: 24-27.
Guru, Mark. "Fixated on Ebonics: Let's Concentrate on the Kids." Educational Leadership 54 (1997): 87.
Hoover, M.R. "Ebonics: Myths and Realities" Rethinking Schools 12.1 (1997): 17.
Kizza, Immaculate. "Black or Standard English: An African-American Student's Dilemma."(Opinion/Position Paper, 1991). ED 342008.
McKay, Sandra L. "Variations in English: What Role for Education?"(Opinion/Position Paper, 1991). ED 347796.
McWhorter, John. "Wasting Energy on An Illusion." The Black Scholar 27 (1997): 2-5.
Oneil, W. "If Ebonics Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?" Rethinking Schools 12.1 (1997): 10-11.
"Original Oakland Resolution on Ebonics"( http://linguistlist.org/topics/Ebonics/Ebonics=res1.html).
Secret, Carrie. Interview. Rethinking Schools. Fall 1997: 18-19, 34.
Smith, E. "What Is Black English? What Is Ebonics?" Rethinking Schools 12.1 (1997): 14-15.
Taylor, Hanni. "Ambivalence Toward Black English: Some Tentative Solutions." The Writing Instructor Spring (1991): 121-135.
Williams, Patricia. "The Hidden Meanings of Black English." The Black Scholar 27 (1997) 7-8.
Winters, Clyde A. "Non-Standard English and Reading"(Opinion/Position Paper, 1993). ED 358438.
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