Every language has numerous forms and dialects that emerged due to the influence of various cultures or customs. For this reason, English also has several unique forms resulting from interference with numerous ethnic groups. Thus, Ebonics, or African American Vernacular English, is a dialect spoken by African Americans (Richardson, 1998). It emerged from numerous contacts between different varieties of colonial English and African languages brought to the continent by people belonging to this culture (Richardson, 1998). As a result, a unique form of language peculiar to particular groups or communities emerged. Today, there is a vigorous debate about whether it should be used in schools to educate such groups; however, its integration into learning activities might lead to discrimination.
As stated previously, there are opinions for and against using this form of language in schools. Ebonics advocates say it will improve cooperation between teachers and students of color (Ndemanu, 2015). As a result, academic success will also be improved, which is critical for the sector. Moreover, using Ebonics, it is possible to promote inclusion in diversity in schools (Bacon, 2017). Another argument focuses on the fact that by integrating this dialect into the work of educational establishments, it is possible to eliminate barriers preventing minorities from acquiring education (Davila, 2016). These arguments are often used by the supporters of Ebonics and the necessity to use it.
However, opponents of the given decision offer their own vision on the issue. First, they emphasize that acknowledgment of this dialect in classrooms will create the basis for discrimination and segregation (Ortiz & Ruwe, 2021). Educators will have to teach English and Ebonics-speaking students differently, which will influence outcomes and relations between groups, including various populations (Brown & de Casanova, 2014). Moreover, it will slow down the speed of integration and diversification of communities (McClendon & Valenciano, 2018). African American minorities will remain separated from others because of their language and culture. In such a way, the decision to make Ebonics a part of the classroom and integrate it into the work of the education system might result in the emergence of additional problems.
As is can be seen from the analysis above, supporters and opposers of Ebonics have their own arguments. Thus, I believe that Ebonics, or African American English, should not be used in school for several reasons. First, as stated previously, it creates the basis for discrimination and segregation as language will separate people. Second, the educational sector should be focused on teaching academic sciences and standard language forms. It will help learners integrate into society and succeed in the future. For this reason, replacing standard literary language with a dialect will reduce the chances of success for these groups.
Altogether, Ebonics language is a common form of English spoken by the African American population. However, regardless of numerous arguments supporting its integration in schools, it should not be used in educational establishments. Otherwise, there is a high risk of segregation and conflicts based on cultural differences between various groups. Instead, it is vital to teaching a standard language to improve chances of success. Ebonics is an essential element of customs and traditions that should be respected; however, it should not prevent students from building successful careers and integrating into various communities. It is a fundamental task to ensure equal educational opportunities for everyone, regardless of their language and culture.
Bacon, C. K. (2017). Dichotomies, dialects, and deficits: Confronting the “Standard English” myth in literacy and teacher education. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 66(1), 341–357. Web.
Brown, T. M., & de Casanova, E. M. (2014). Representing the language of the ‘other’: African American Vernacular English in ethnography. Ethnography, 15(2), 208–231. Web.
Davila, B. (2016). The inevitability of “Standard” English: Discursive constructions of standard language ideologies. Written Communication, 33(2), 127–148. Web.
McClendon, G., & Valenciano, C. (2018). School principals’ perceptions on Ebonics and Black English in Houston, TX. Journal of Education & Social Policy, 5(4), 1-9. Web.
Ndemanu, M. T. (2015). Ebonics, to be or not to be? A legacy of Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Journal of Black Studies, 46(1), 23–43. Web.
Ortiz, N. A., & Ruwe, D. (2021). Black English and mathematics education: A critical look at culturally sustaining pedagogy. Teachers College Record, 123(10), 185–212. Web.
Richardson, E. (1998). The anti-Ebonics movement: “Standard” English only. Journal of English Linguistics, 26(2), 156-169.