Monthly Archives: July 2015

It is no wonder that the autobiographical medium has dominated black modes of written expression. The autobiographical moment afforded a contradiction in racist reason: How could the black, who by definition was not fully human and hence without a point of view, produce a portrait of his or her point of view? The black autobiography announced a special form of biography, a text that was read for insight into blackness, which meant that paradoxically some of the problems of epistemic closure continued through an engagement that admitted epistemic possibility. The interest in black autobiography carried expectation and curiosity. One could see the further titillation that emerged from the addendum to several nineteenth-century narratives, including that of Frederick Douglass, ‘as written by himself.’ A black man who could write?

–Lewis Gordon

(via Square Dancing with Giants)

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It is a well-documented fact that by the age of 5 monolingual White children will have heard 30 million fewer words in languages other than English than bilingual children of color. In addition, they will have had a complete lack of exposure to the richness of non-standardized varieties of English that characterize the homes of many children of color. This language gap increases the longer these children are in school. The question is what causes this language gap and what can be done to address it?

The major cause of this language gap is the failure of monolingual White communities to successfully assimilate into the multilingual and multidialectal mainstream. The continued existence of White ethnic enclaves persists despite concerted efforts to integrate White communities into the multiracial mainstream since the 1960s. In these linguistically isolated enclaves it is possible to go for days without interacting with anybody who does not speak Standardized American English providing little incentive for their inhabitants to adapt to the multilingual and multidialectal nature of  US society.

This linguistic isolation has a detrimental effect on the cognitive development of monolingual White children. This is because linguistically isolated households lack the rich translanguaging practices that are found in bilingual households and the elaborate style-shifting that occurs in bidialectal households. This leaves monolingual White children without a strong metalinguistic basis for language learning. As a result, many of these monolingual White children lack the school-readiness skills needed for foreign language learning and graduate from school having mastered nothing but Standardized American English leaving them ill-equipped to engage in intercultural communication.

What if we talked about monolingual White children the way we talk about low-income children of color?

Excerpt from a satirical blog post from The Educational Linguist that makes a good point about which language skills we value as a society and the problems with talking about a “language gap”.

I’m normalizing TV.

I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL.

I am NORMALIZING television.

You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, any one you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically RUN), there is somewhere, someone, to run TO. Your tribe is waiting for you.

You are not alone.

 

–Shonda Rhimes at the humanrightscampaign Gala in Los Angeles. You can read her entire speech on “normalizing TV” here.

(via because i am a woman)

My feminism has nothing to do with men. It is not defined as “equality for all genders”. It isn’t even about equality. I don’t want to be equal with men because I don’t like or want this patriarchy men have. My feminism is about liberation for all women, and an end of the oppression of all women, including women of color, immigrants, lesbians, and trans women. It is about equity- doing what is necessary to ensure everyone has a quality standard of life, has their human rights respected, and is free from oppression. I am not into definitions of feminism that are aimed at making feminism appear non-threatening to men. It IS threatening to them, and it should be.

Havlová commenting on this article

(via the bad dominicana)

When our culture (our media, our power structures, our society) says, “people who look like you shouldn’t expect to have a life like that,” we’re stealing. Stealing from people capable of achieving more, and stealing from our community as well. How can our society (that’s us) say, “we don’t expect you to graduate, we don’t expect you to lead, we don’t expect you to be trusted to make a difference?”

Seth Godin “The tragedy of small expectations (and the trap of false dreams)”

(via Now, You See Me)

“What exactly is the tradition the Confederate battle flag is meant to represent? Is it slavery, rape, kidnapping, genocide, treason, or all of the above?”

–Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, standing by the Confederate flag on the House floor arguing for a National Parks ban on displaying and selling the symbol of “hatred and oppression.”

(via KEW)