Stop Judging and Start Listening

There’s no question about it: people are judged on the way they speak. Not surprisingly, African Americans are often the ones impacted, especially when it comes to education.

One African-American high school student we spoke to said he hated how often teachers corrected him when he spoke. “Every time you try to say something they gotta correct every line you say. It’s like … I don’t want to talk to you now.”

And that’s how you get kids to stop contributing during class. Don’t think there’s a stigma? How about Rachel Jeantel, witness and friend of Trayvon Martin, who according to one juror, wasn’t thought of as a credible witness because of how she spoke.

Maybe it’s time to stop judging and start actually listening.

Team Blackness also discussed Satanists and the Hobby Lobby, Twitter’s not so diverse staff, and the life expectancy of people in the South.

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66 replies
  1. 1
    Forkbeard says:

    I agree broadly with the point here – we should listen to what people say, instead of how they say it – but I feel like school is precisely the right place to correct someone if they’re using incorrect grammar or using words incorrectly. Where else is that going to happen?

    Looking forward to listening to the podcast when I can. Stupid job.

  2. 2
    Brian R. says:

    @Forkbeard:

    Agreed. The juror thing was idiotic, but the classroom is a special environment.

    I had an English teacher who did the same thing with me in high school. He wasn’t a racist. He was an English teacher. It was *literally* his job to get me to use the language correctly, and stopping me when I used slang or ended a sentence with a preposition was part of that. If he wasn’t supposed to do it, who was?

    If students don’t think the teacher has the right to correct them, to educate them in the proper way to do something, then what’s the fucking point of even going to school?

  3. 3
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    There’s no question about it: people are judged on the way they speak.

    Yep, and since that is not going to change, maybe we should quit bashing teachers who are trying to help kids get taken more seriously, and help these kids learn to speak American Standard English (or what I like to term “cop English”) so that employers, college admissions officers, and juries n’ cops start taking them seriously.

    Rachel Jeantel did as much to torpedo the prosecution of that murdering piece of shit Zimmerman as the DA prosecuting him did. You may be a teenager, but in court you can’t act or speak like one or shit isn’t going to roll your way, every damn time.

  4. 4
    C.V. Danes says:

    On this I have to disagree. Learning how to communicate intelligently is one of the most important skills you can have. It’s part of being a professional. If you can’t take the time to learn how to speak intelligently, then you’re probably not taking the time to learn how to act intelligently either. This is not to say that you can’t adjust your delivery to account for your audience, or that we need to speak like royalty. But proper communication is a part of being a professional.

    The teacher you are referring to may be a pain, but I’m just as much a pain to my students, who have an average age of around 40 :-)

  5. 5
    Gene108 says:

    Took a communications class in undergrad (went to college in Raleigh, NC).

    Had a student from a very rural hamlet in the Blue Ridge mountains. He had a very thick Southern drawl. The prof, a retired full time communications professor from Appalachain State University, in Boone, NC (in the Blue Ridge mountains, off the Applachain Trail), dropped his public speaking because of his drawl.

    Being knocked down a peg for poor enunciation (and that is any pronounced regional or ethnic accent) seems to be par for the course in academic settings.

    Grammar* and elocution are things that still need to be taught and respected as parts of a good education.

    * My formal understanding of grammar is awful. Just not a subject I paid attention to in school, but in an educational setting I do expect to be graded down for improper use of grammar.

  6. 6
    gogol's wife says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    I teach Russian, and my experience is that when you’re trying to get students to converse, you just can’t correct every single mistake or they’ll clam up. It feels as if this is a similar issue — can’t there be a part of class when people can just express themselves without being constantly corrected, and then another part, as on tests both written and oral, when their mistakes are worked on? (But even then, not necessarily every single thing all at once.)

  7. 7
    gogol's wife says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Can’t get edit function to work — when I say “mistakes,” I mean a kind of translation from one’s own dialect or even idiolect to Standard English. One’s own dialect isn’t really a mistake.

  8. 8
    srv says:

    “Every time you try to say something they gotta correct every line you say. It’s like … I don’t want to talk to you now.”

    It’s like, a classroom.

    Ask John how much shit we gave him with his spelling and grammar back in the day. He wrote and spelled like a 15 year old. But he’s done good.

  9. 9

    Would be an interesting voir dire question to ask prospective jurors whether the lack of proper grammar or how someone spoke would go to the credibility of the testimony of the witness.

  10. 10
    David Bell says:

    In college, I majored in English. My English 101 teacher — a grad student TA — graded my first four papers “F.” I couldn’t believe it. I had no doubt about what I wanted to study — how could I fail English 101? I met with the teacher; she told me what she expected of me. I didn’t do what she asked and got another F. Finally, I started delivering what she wanted, what she was trying to teach me. This may have been the most valuable educational experience I ever had. It was hard. It’s hard to communicate clearly. I can’t remember that teacher’s name, but I sure do appreciate her hard work.

  11. 11
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Being able to use a language in multiple registers is one of the the things that distinguishes really proficient speakers from merely competent ones. There may be more or less than the canonical five that get taught in linguistics classes, but they’re a real thing.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    Here’s the link to the full article. It’s a little different from what people are assuming — basically, it’s trying to teach kids about the difference between “formal” and “informal” speech rather than correcting them and telling them the way they talk is “wrong.” They’re trying to make the focus more, That’s how you talk with your friends, but that’s not how you talk in school rather than straight-up You’re doing it wrong.

  13. 13
    dan says:

    Yeah, no. Learn how to speak. That’s not asking too much, and it will pay dividends forever.

  14. 14
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    If teachers are only correcting black students, then that’s a problem. If they are blind to white people speech problems, then that’s a problem. If they are not listening to anything else the black student says because of his speech, then that’s a problem.

    It all depends.

  15. 15
    cckids says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    my experience is that when you’re trying to get students to converse, you just can’t correct every single mistake or they’ll clam up

    This is my thought as well. Teachers need to walk that line between getting the kids to speak correctly and letting them express themselves without continually “fixing” their speech. It is akin to grading papers; you need to correct the grammar/punctuation, but you need to read for content as well.

  16. 16
    Pogonip says:

    I know a lot of black people who can switch accents at will. No one I know in any other ethnic group, including me, can do that, and none of the switchers can teach me how. Darn it. I’m OK in English but have a terrible American accent in Spanish.

  17. 17
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Brian R.: Except the “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” rule is one of those fake rules that won’t die. See the linguists at the noted Language Log blog: here and here.

  18. 18
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Brian R.: Except the “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” rule is one of those fake rules that won’t die. See the linguists at the noted Language Log blog: here and here.

  19. 19
    El Caganer says:

    When I worked at the railroad, I used to cringe when I heard other whites talk to blacks. Do you really think an African-American can’t understand you if you don’t start out “yo, yo, yo, dog?”

  20. 20
    Yatsuno says:

    @Scamp Dog: All Germanic languages end sentences with prepositions constantly. But it was a rule in Latin grammar that this was verboten. English grammarians couldn’t forgive English’s “brutal” heritage so pushed for the rule in the 1700s to try to make it more like Latin.. The fact is English flows better when a sentence ends in a preposition. I personally think it looks clunky otherwise.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    It depends on the context (which, ironically, is what this movement is trying to discuss). If you’re doing a public speaking segment (giving a book report or whatever), then I could see getting fairly detailed in your critique. But if the kids are having a lively discussion about a book or a current event, constantly interrupting them to correct their grammar or usage is going to kill the conversation.

  22. 22
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Yatsuno: Split infinitiives’ low status springs from the same impulse.

    It’s German under the hood.

  23. 23
    JustRuss says:

    @Yatsuno:

    The fact is English flows better when a sentence ends in a preposition. I personally think it looks clunky otherwise.

    I have no idea about what you are talking.

  24. 24
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Mnemosyne: I tell my students “Find out what the Beast eats, and feed it to the Beast”.

    This is why any fair assessment tells the troops up front what they’re going to be assessed on, and how it’s going to be assessed, with, whenever possible, exemplars of good and excellent work. You can’t always just test one thing at a time, but that should be the goal.

    So teachers have to carve out places in a lesson where they’re just not going to notice stuff, because that’s not what we’re after today.

  25. 25
    Pogonip says:

    @JustRuss: This is something up with which I shall not put!

  26. 26
    Yatsuno says:

    @JustRuss: @Pogonip: What has been accomplishes has been witnessed.

  27. 27
    Joel says:

    Maybe it’s time to stop judging and start actually listening.

    There’s no problem with having colloquial speech among friends, but kids should learn how to master (or at least imitate) standard English.

  28. 28
    Randy P says:

    @El Caganer: My favorite spoof on that is the Seth Green character in Can’t Hardly Wait

  29. 29
    RSR says:

    There’s a difference between being judged and being unfairly judged.

    This is an issue that can span between the two.

  30. 30
    Roger Moore says:

    @Yatsuno:

    All Germanic languages end sentences with prepositions constantly.

    Strictly speaking those aren’t prepositions. They are verbs with separable prefixes that happen to look like prepositions.

  31. 31
    nature's own says:

    Sloppy thinking produces sloppy speech and sloppy speech impairs clear thinking. Take this sentence, for example: “African Americans are often the ones impacted, especially when it comes to education.”

  32. 32
    Betty Cracker says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Rachel Jeantel did as much to torpedo the prosecution of that murdering piece of shit Zimmerman as the DA prosecuting him did.

    I’m not sure I’d go that far, but yeah, she was disaster as a witness. I’ve got a teenage daughter myself, so I understand how kids can get all defensive and mumbly, particularly in highly fraught situations. I don’t blame Jeantel, but I do wonder how much coaching she got from the prosecution (not enough, clearly).

  33. 33
    Pogonip says:

    @C.V. Danes: One wishes speaking intelligently WERE valued. What is valued in the U.S., at least, is the ability to spit out “business” jargon.

  34. 34
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Pogonip: No argument there :-)

  35. 35
    C.V. Danes says:

    @gogol’s wife: If you’re teaching language, then you really have to focus on the correct form from the start. Of course, different languages have sounds that are difficult for the untrained tongue to master, but practice makes perfect! If you let your students slide, then you are making it easy for them to ingrain bad habits that will be more difficult to fix later :-)

  36. 36
    Someguy says:

    Who says speaking white english = speaking correctly?

    It’s an evolving language. We would probably sound terribly slangy to an educated Edwardian, and be considered intolerably uncouth and insensitive by an Elizabethan era citizen. Goodness knows how they sounded to their forebears.

    I think there’s latent racism in the insistence that speaking black is wrong, while speaking white is right.

  37. 37
    TR says:

    @Someguy: And I think there’s obvious racism in thinking speaking wrong is “black” and speaking right is “white.”

    Languages have rules. If you want to speak one, use them whatever your race.

  38. 38
    TR says:

    @Someguy:

    Also, it’s “forebearers.” Does pointing out that error make me racist?

  39. 39
    John Revolta says:

    @TR: No. Makes you wrong, though.

  40. 40
    Cassidy says:

    The shorter version of most of these comments:

    Silly negro, sit down, be quiet, and let us tell you how you should feel.

  41. 41
    J R in WV says:

    @Gene108:

    Do you mean to say that the professor marked down the grades given in the communications class because of the accent of the speaker? Rather than the words spoken by the speaker?

    Because that is as much open bigotry as marking a speaker down for being African-American. The professor should have been marked down, that is to say fired, for using improper grading standards.

    Speech therapy could have been offered to assist the rural student in moving his accent towards “American Standard” pronunciation, but a communications class isn’t supposed to rise or fall depending upon the accent of the student.

    Despicable bigotry on the part of the teacher.

    I was born and raised in a small coal town in rural West Virginia. I am fortunate in that my family was educated enough to speak properly, so that I learned to speak properly at a young age. I also learned to speak appropriately, eventually. That is, I use speech patterns of those I am speaking with, to some degree. This enables better communication, because I am speaking words that my listeners are familiar with, and that they understand.

    It does one no good to speak properly if one’s listeners don’t understand what you are saying. How one goes about teaching adults to speak properly is another issue. Teaching them to hear with discrimination, so that they can hear standard English, and tell that it is different from what they have been saying, is a start.

    I guess I ain’t got much else to say ’bout that fer naow!

  42. 42
    Betty Cracker says:

    @J R in WV: It’s a fine line between accent and enunciation sometimes. In my college speech class, the prof told us she’d dock our grades if we failed to pronounce our Gs (huntin,’ fishin,’ etc.). She also abhorred certain rustic pronunciations (“vehicle” pronounced “VEE-hick-ul,” for example). And she recoiled in horror whenever anyone said they were “fixin’ to do” something.

  43. 43
    Kilen says:

    @Cassidy:

    Boring troll.

    It’s not like black people have a monopoly on speaking poorly — and one of the smartest, most eloquent people I know is of color.

    Oh — as for the original post, yes, I’m going to continue to judge people on their speech and actions. I expect others to likewise judge me.

  44. 44
    J R in WV says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Here locally, there is a piece of construction equipment, like a backhoe, without the loader on one end. Usually tracked like a bulldozer, with a small cab, a big engine, and a long digging boom.

    The word is spelled “Excavator”.

    The tool is called an “Escavator” by those who use it, universally. I don’t know how they would say it if they were reading from the operator manual, but I would bet without the “x”.

    Funny, kind of. These guys operating these machines bear a huge responsibility. dig wrong, hit a gas line, blow up a store full of shoppers, or an interstate highway. They also get paid highly for what they do. I’m inclined to say “If that’s how the experts say it, then that is how it is pronounced.”

  45. 45
    Matt says:

    I’m an ESL teacher, and in college I read the work of Lisa Delpit in college. I would say read articles by her on this topic if you are so interested. She had an interesting theory of African American success in American culture. Her view was that southern African Americans had to work almost as 2nd Language learners, because America’s white power structure was critical of speech and grammar mispronunciation as you move up the career ladders. For that reason, many African Americans had to learn codeswitching between their two languages, the language of their homes, accented and full of pidgyins of english, and the more neutral grammar specific and idiom heavy language of the white power structure. I have no idea where the book I read the article in, is now, but it was definitely eye-opening. It was a very interesting read, and I hadn’t really thought of how the way people talk can really affect their career options up to that point.

  46. 46
    J R in WV says:

    Also, I picked up on speaking for my listeners from a cousin. He was at least as well educated as I was, but used ain’t often.

    We were alone, playing in the woods behind the house one afternoon, and I asked him how come he said ain’t all the time, when I knew he knew it was incorrect? And he said, who says it’s incorrect? it’s correct slang for lots of people.

    Flash of light.

    One way to get bullied is to act superior, esp. if you aren’t as big and violent as the bully who doesn’t think you are a bit superior. If you talk like everyone else, you are less likely to be seen as acting snooty. I was never really beat up, but I did get picked on some. I was tall for my age, but I was also the youngest person in the class. Always. B’day Dec 27th, so got into the school year by 4 days.

  47. 47
    Someguy says:

    @TR:

    That’s a self-deconstructing comment. You think I’m racist for pointing out that people here are associating white speech with “right” and black with “wrong.” Then you say “Languages have rules. If you want to speak one, use them whatever your race. ”

    So in other words, black grammar isn’t right by it’s own self-referential terms, it’s wrong by the terms of your language.

    Spoken like a true hegemon, TR. What’s that stand for anyhow – Teddy Roosevelt?

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Someguy:

    Actually, no. TR seems to be saying that Standard English and African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) are different languages (technically, AAVE is more of a dialect than a separate language). There’s no “right” or “wrong” any more than it’s “right” to speak French and “wrong” to speak Spanish, but that doesn’t make the different language speakers understand each other any better.

    Unless you’re advocating for the whole country to switch over to AAVE instead of Standard English, people who speak AAVE will need to also be fluent in Standard English to make themselves understood.

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cassidy:That chip on your shoulder must be the size of a boulder.

  50. 50
    Bonnie says:

    I am an American Indian. My ancestors were forced to learn English. In fact, it was illegal for American Indians to speak their native languages. Many were even jailed for using their native language instead of English even into the early 20th century. My parents were both American Indians; but, from different Tribes. My mother, though, was raised by her non-Indian father and stepmother. She learned to speak English very well; and, attended one year of college before she married my Dad, who was about 7/8ths American Indian. He quit school after eighth grade when his Dad died in the 1930s; and, he had to support his family as he was the oldest child. His grammar was not very good; but, he always told us that we should never talk like him; but, talk like our mother, who often corrected our English. I think English is great language when spoken correctly. However, I also feel that if my ancestors had to learn English, so should every one else. I think it is important for all of us to speak so that any other American can understand what we are saying. I agree with many above that the role of English teachers is to correct students. I am a firm believer in the old saying “when in Rome do as the Romans do.” Thus, if you want to get ahead in this country, learn to speak the language correctly. If you want to keep your own dialect (or whatever it is that makes your speaking difficult for other Americans to understand), then do so with your circle of friends. Just understand that in order to have the majority of Americans understand what you are talking about, you need to speak the language in its most correct form.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Just pointing out the obvious. Heaven forbid a black person express an opinion on the front page that doesn’t fit into balloon juice’s suburban chic.

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cassidy:

    balloon juice’s suburban chic.

    So much wrong in so few words.

  53. 53
    Annamal says:

    @Bonnie:

    Being a New Zealander (although not Maori), the way Americans approach both English and American Indian languages is profoundly discomforting.

    A lot of the same tricks were tried to eradicate Maori language (boarding schools, punishing kids for speaking Maori etc) and they have since been recognised as a deeply shameful part of our history.

    These days Maori language is part of our culture (not as much as it should be but even the most redneck racist is going to understand at least a hundred basic Maori words).

    It is (finally) getting to the point where the correct form of speaking is not mangling Maori words (and you’re going to be judged if you don’t).

    All of which goes to the point that the “correct” way of speaking is very very fluid and probably due some changes.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cassidy: How clever of you.

  56. 56
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Uh oh. Someone put a little regular in his decaf tonight!

  57. 57
    Spinoza Is My Co-pilot says:

    So learning to properly speak the language of the very dominant culture in which one lives and, presumably, would like to prosper is of little consequence because that language is fluid and evolving and who’s to judge anyway?

    The very fact that there are any standards for speaking the language of that very dominant culture is in itself racist, to say nothing of hegemonic. Obviously.

    And telling people that — for their own good — they really should try speaking English correctly is tantamount to telling them to “act white”. Of course it is.

    You know, I’ve heard something like that before. What was it? Oh, that’s right: telling kids in inner city schools that they should try to do well in their studies and thus increase their chances of doing well in life is telling them to “act white”.

    Can’t have that. Would be all racist and shit.

    And who the hell wants to end up like white people, anwyay? Especially (**shudder**) suburban white people. Who the fuck wants anything those losers have?

    Barack Obama speaks English one way, Rachel Jeantel another, both are equally valid and effective means of communication, because really, who’s to say one way of speaking English is any better than another?

    Well, my Italian-immigrant brother-in-law would, for one. Grew up dirt-poor in Italy, lived in the “projects” when his family moved to America, and been a very successful entrepreneur going back even to when he was still in college. He not only does the New York Times crossword puzzle every day, he’s worked hard on proper diction and pronunciation all his life so that his still-noticeable Italian accent is no barrier at all to communication.

    And my co-workers from Mumbai and Mexico City for others.

    I suppose they’re all just trying to “act white” though. They’ll never realize what a fool’s errand it’s been for them to try to speak English like some suburban white dude.

  58. 58
    someguy says:

    >>>And who the hell wants to end up like white people, anwyay? Especially (**shudder**) suburban white people

    You mean Republicans, by and large. The suburbs are a blight on the landscape, and don’t get me started about white male voters.

  59. 59
    Plantsmantx says:

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee cancels ‘Southern Accent Reduction’ class

    OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 29 (UPI) –Plans for a class that would have taught Department of Energy employees how to pull the plug on their southern accents have been cancelled.
    The Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s proposed “Southern Accent Reduction” class will not be taught after some employees complained that they found the class offensive.

    The six-week course was going to be taught by “accent reduction trainer” Lisa Scott, and students were going to learn to “speak with a more neutral American accent” so they could “be remembered for what you say and not how you say it.”

    By using the “code-switching” technique, employees would learn to neutralize their southern accents, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

    ORNL has offered accent-reduction courses in the past, but usually for foreign nationals.

    “Given the way that it came across, they decided to cancel it,” said ORNL spokesman David Keim. “It probably wasn’t presented in the right way and made it look like ORNL had some problem with having a Southern accent, which of course we don’t. That was not the intent at all.”

  60. 60
    Porco Rosso says:

    Now I know why the caged bird wants to gargle gasoline and light a match.

  61. 61
    Red says:

    I agree with this. Public speaking tips here. Engage – What NOT To Do When Presenting . Verity can help you be a great public speaker!

  62. 62
    moderateindy says:

    First off, teachers aren’t trying to get black people to “speak white”. They are trying to teach them to speak proper English, which also happens to be the preffered dialect of the current power structure, whether business, academic, or political. So if you want to succeed in those areas, it would be advantageous to be able to speak and act in a manner that would allow you to fit in. I used to have an employee that was a room attendant in a hotel. She had all the attributes that would have made her a fine front desk worker, except for her language skills. Simple things like not being able to pronounce the word ask correctly, meant she could not project the image that an upscale hotel was looking for.
    So It sucks that people are not always judged on the content of their ideas, but on their ability to convey those thoughts in a manner that people consider to sound intelligent, or professional, but this is hardly a new phenomonon.
    Just like you are expected to dress in a certain way, such as a wearing a suit and tie, an employer expects you to be able to speak in a certain way, in order to represent the company in what is considered a professional manner. I personally despise wearing a tie, but I realize it is a custom I must accept to work in my chosen field. I don’t expect everyone else to change their opinion of what makes one appear professional, because I don’t like the current standards.

    I do not speak, act or dress, in my personal life the way I do in my professional arena. It certainly is harder for some black people to switch over to that mode, as the language patterns from urban culture are much further away from accepted grammar that is employed by the power structure, but tough titties, if ya want to play their game, you’re usually stuck playing by their rules.

  63. 63
    Paul in KY says:

    @Betty Cracker: Agreed. They sent her out there unprepared (IMO).

  64. 64
    Spinoza Is My Co-pilot says:

    @someguy: I notice you didn’t engage any of my arguments for why it is good and important for people in America to learn and employ — as best they can — standard spoken English.

    To argue otherwise is, frankly, stupid and unhelpful. Including labeling standard spoken English as “racist” or, for fuck’s sake, “hegemonic”. Just like the stupid and unhelpful “doing well in school is ‘acting white'” bullshit.

    Sure, lots of suburban whites are Republicans. And lots (like myself) are not. Lots of poorer rural and urban whites are Republican, too. I’m not happy that so many of my fellow white folk of whatever age, gender, or socioeconomic status are fascist (Republican) and I realize a lot of that is pretty obviously due to white racism, among other factors.

    But I’m a white male voter (and suburbanite now, too, to boot, though I grew up poor working class) and I have never voted fascist in my life. Same goes for many of the people I worked with on Obama’s ’12 campaign back in my old stomping grounds of Cleveland’s west side.

    What I meant by ending up like whites (especially white suburbanites, aka, successful and affluent people) is having what those people have and living as they do (success and affluence). Similar to what is meant by “If you want to live like a Republican, vote like a Democrat”. The implication being that living like a Republican (primarily represented as a successful and affluent, and most likely white, suburbanite) is a good and desirable thing.

    Because in fact it is, and most people in this country, hell, the world, see it that way. It’s exactly what President Obama means when he extols the “American Dream”.

    And sure, some suburbs are blights, but many (most, I’d say) are not. In my old hometown of Cleveland it’s much of the city (no surprise) that’s largely the blight (including, sadly, the neighborhood I grew up in) and the nice leafy suburbs that are the good and desirable places to live, from Lakewood (practically Cleveland, being more or less smack in the middle of the city, just mostly nicer) to the tonier climes of Brecksville and Avon and the like. Few of those places are “blights” whatever you may believe. E.55th and Woodland (inner city) — that’s, sorry to say, a blight. Same thing is repeated over and over again all across the country. Not everywhere, of course.

    I expect stupid non-nuanced views from the fascists, not fellow liberals.

  65. 65
    Plantsmantx says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    What is “acting intelligently”?

    By the way, using “standard” grammar is not “acting white”. I just thought someone should say that explicitly.

  66. 66
    slag says:

    I never understand why people tend to prioritize grammar uber alles when expressing their profound concern for clarity of communication. Word choice and sentence structure rank much higher on my list of issues as they both express and influence the speaker’s thought processes.

    By all means, use the word “ain’t” all you want, but don’t consistently tell me things are “good”. What exactly does “good” mean to you in this context? Elucidate!

    Sometimes, I feel like we teach language backwards (if we actually teach it at all). Show me why I should care before you tell me the rules.

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