Black English

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate June 2001

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The United States claims to be a melting pot. Its purpose was to be a place of refuge to those downtrodden masses and to be a bastion for freedom justice and equality for any who step onto its shores. That sadly is not the case. The cultures within the United States have become separate, labeled, anachronisms. The very idea of equality is saved for the majority. One possible explanation for this terrible ideal gone awry has to deal with language barriers. The main language within the United States is English yet the vast area and number of cultures have created many dialects and vernaculars, the most prevalent being Black English.

We can remedy gross negligence and arrogance with education. This simple act can cause mountains to fall and nations to collapse. It is the most powerful word on earth. With this word we can destroy our misconceptions and create utopia.

We shall begin by learning about Black English/ Black English Vernacular (BE/BEV), so called "Ebonics." Thought of as being a form of ignorant speech, Black English has created problems within the community of its users. Its conception however makes it a part of Americana and as such cannot be denied its place among other American creations, i.e. hotdogs, baseball and "mom's apple pie" Its use helps to justify the melting pot theory and is too prevalent within the United States to be thought of as "Sloppy language". It is almost as prevalent as standard or "Proper" English.

BE/BEV has its history in slavery. When the African slaves in America were forced to work with members of different tribes of unfamiliar language cultures, a communication problem was introduced. Necessity created a weapon identified by linguists as Gullah, a conglomerate of tribal languages and English. Necessity allowed communication and ideas to transfer...