I live in D.C. 8 blocks from Howard University. My neighborhood is about 89% black. The problem with ebonics is that not everyone "grows" out of it, or can turn it on and off based on situations. Speaking mostly proper English is very important to succeed in the United States. The same can be said for any other form of slang, like southern hick, or whatever. If you are interviewing someone for a job and they speak in ebonics or hick talk, it is going to lower your perception of them. Its the same as very fat people interviewing for jobs, subconsciously, the employer will think you are lazy.
I'm not saying that discrimination based on language is acceptable or is a measure of intelligence, but subconsciously it does matter.
As a Hispanic/latin american/Ecuadorean American, I can see that this issue transcends all races. We see black, white, hispanic, chinese and even indian kids speaking in slang. They use this language to communicate with each other. The problem occurs when they fail to understand that this language is inappropriate for certain situations. We all have spoken in slang at one point or another but I assure y ou that most of my friends know when to can the slang.
The problem today may be that the kids dont understand when to use the slang and when not to. Its not a black or white thing..its a people thing. If you have ever driven through West Virginia or the Appalachian Mountains, you see white children who speak very differently and who dress differently. Some of these kids live in abject poverty. When you go through some areas in the bronx, you'd swear they were the victims of bombings..burnt down homes, empty lots...it affects them mentally. They want money fast, they shed school to "be down" with the guys with big chains and the fast lifestyle.
What do we see? We see an absence of Hope! Restore hope and you give them the foresight to stay out of trouble and stay in school. No kid when he is 8 says "I wanna be a criminal or I wanna be dumb". We just need to give him the opportunity to achieve.
This sounds like a liberal but I assure you... I am a down the middle moderate who tends to be socially conservative. But my Friend TB is right, the urban kids are trying....they just need a little help.
I agree with Jets5....my family was vigilant with me and my bro and that produced an attorney and a NYU-MBA Graduate now working for Deloitte Consulting. That is what you call hope. Families must not grow hesitant..they must oversee their kids...because you cant leave that job to anyone else.
I do hesitate to get into this fray I started, because as I stated before, I just haven't thought about this much and can't really speak from the perspective of the black expeirence. Also, unlike [b]Section109Row15[/b], I can't say I'm in real close contact with the black community to a large degree.
I'd like to make two, I think salient points, regarding Mr. Cosby:
1) The young gang member that botched the horrible robbery on Cosby's son had immigrated to the U.S legally from Russia. His family worked real hard and played by all our U.S rules...........However, as I remember back to 1997, that Russian kid had totally embraced the "hip-hop" culture. Matter of fact, it was said minority kids in his area used to laugh at him for trying to be a [b]"wigger" with a thick russian accent[/b].........Think Mr. Cosby doesn't have some resentment towards that whole MTV crowd which promotes this culture to kids via MTV, music, videos, ect? It's so strong, it can turn even a conservative russian kid into a thug, rappster wannabe.
2) Let's not forget Bill is significantly older than most of us here. Through his eyes, he sees kids acting foolishly and destroying their prospects.