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questioning minorities in academia


Black English is only ungrammatical if u go by the grammar rules of standard English. If one looks at Black English as a distinct language, they would see that it has its own vernacular or grammar rules. The same is true for other cultural dialects or languages minorities use. Many minority academics acknowledge these facts. I know cuz they post about it on social media a lot & constantly call for other educators to recognize this when interacting with their students and minority professionals in academia.

i am unsure about whether they really believe what they preach bc i have seen minority academics explain themselves- defend their intelligence- when they use their cultural dialects in ways that suggest that they don't actually believe what they are arguing for. for instance, i have seen many minority academics speak in aave. after finishing their point, they let their audience know that they not dumb for speaking in aave bc speaking in aave don't make u dumb. my question is- why do this? if u truly believe that u don't need to explain ur existence to "the white man", why r u constantly giving disclaimers that ur cultural practices don't make u inferior?

like for real, why? mb ppl got legit reasons for doing this but it seem like one of their motivations is a desire to prove that their cultural practices are valid. the issue with this is that one would only work hard to prove this in the way described if they thought their cultural practices really wasn't valid.

i also question that minorities in academia truly believe that their cultural practices are legitimate bc many minorities in academic teach and publish papers in standard english. i get that they might have legitimate reasons as to why they do this. they probably teach in standard english bc they want to come off a certain way to their students. it's also probably easier for many of them to speak in standard english bc the papers they assign to their students are in standard english. it's probably easier to convey the ideas in standard english since the papers are written in standard english.

i also get that minorities might publish papers in standard english bc that's what publishing companies and journals require. but what about minority owned publishing companies and journals? many of them cater to minority audiences as minorities are the main one's submitting and reading they work. why do they continue to write in standard english? why do they continue to write like they at some fancy academic dinner? why do they continue to write like they talking to old white dudes from the midwest?

ppl creolize political theory all the time. Frantz Fanon and Charles Mills mixed a little Rousseau with black political theory. ppl read Rawls with Charles Mills and Hegel with Achille Mbembe. why can't ppl creolize cultural dialects in academic work? like..i'm envisioning mixing local Haitian dialect with standard in english in a discussion on the nature of being.

i'm imagining we can mix Chicano with standard english in a discussion about moral responsibility.

and when i say mix i don't mean add a few chicano words in the writing. i'm thinking of Jane Gordon's work on creolization. For Gordon, creolization is the blurring of the very boundaries between ostensibly distinct objects, and their reconstitution as new objects through their mutual encounters. If we use this conception of creolization, and we mix language practices, we would blur the boundaries of language practices by adhering to the grammar rules of standard english and to the rules of whatever cultural dialect we chose to write in. in doing so, we would create something new- something that meets the needs of minorities/ reflects the culture of minorities.

I think it's a good idea. idk why minority academics don't do this more. well my intuitions is that they truly believe standard english is better/reflective of a high intelligence.

this has ensured that they forsake their own cultural practices. i also think many don't do it bc they can't do it. they don't do it bc it is against the rules of academic journals and publishing companies to do creolize language practices. And ofc, some stick with standard english bc they lack the imagination to try something different.

In "Critical Exchange" Anne Norton was like, "The struggle to understand the other may keep the spoken language pure. The struggle to make oneself understood to the other will not (366)". honestly, I had to read over the two sentences bout 10 times to get it

but I take Norton to mean something like academics speak in standard english so that they can all be on the same page. they keep academic language pure so that they can all know what each other mean when they say stuff. but if u wanna understand Hatians or Mexicans or (insert any minority group) u can look to their cultural dialects to see what they about. if their goal is for their epistemologies to truly be understood, we gotta convey ideas using their cultural dialects.

i am hesitant af about having all academics speak in pure standard english for the sake of getting ppl to understand each other.

for one, i don't think it has ensured that ppl are on the same page about what ppl mean in their academic work. i say this bc many ppl disagree regardless. more importantly, i am hesitant to agree that all academics should speak in pure standard english bc getting ppl to forsake their language practices is a method used by colonizers. as such, the fact that universities all over the world have forsaken their language practices for standard english is a testament to how colonized universities are. bc of this, i argue for the creolization of cultural dialects in academic work. i call for brave minorities to practice this creolization even if it will make a dent in the social capital they've gained. i call for academics, especially minority academics, to question their faith in the fact that their cultural practices are just as valuable and beautiful as the "white man's."


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