Yo homey, peep out my column

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2006

Okay, this is not going to be very pretty.

When I refer to the ‘n’ word, I’m pretty confident that most of you know what word I’m referring to, so let me jump straight into it.

A few weeks back I was at a high school taking pictures of the football team practicing.

In one area of the practice field the quarterbacks, four black kids, were doing some drills, while a white coach stood by and monitored them.

As I approached the area where the players were doing their drills I could hear their conversation, and I was both ashamed and appalled.

Here’s a sample of what the kids were saying, paraphrased of course;

&uot;Yo man, that ‘n’ had on some new Jordans, they were hot.&uot;

&uot;For real?

‘N’ I want to get me some of those new black joints.&uot;

&uot;Man I know this ‘n’ that got like all the new sneakers and the sweat suit that goes with them.&uot;

&uot;Yeah man, that ‘n’ be ballin’ yo.&uot;

Now keep in mind that this conversation took place in front of a coach and a newspaper reporter, and it never crossed either of these kids minds that what they were doing was socially unacceptable.

The ‘n’ word was tossed around like confetti in front of a white educator.

As sad as I was to have to hear that conversation during an official practice, it was even sadder watching the white coach having to endure that conversation and try to act as if it didn’t bother him.

I’m sure that the coach, who was probably in his mid-forties, has watched an entire generation of black youth evolve into something significantly different than the black kids he grew up with.

When that white coach was an student in school, he probably watched black kids work their butts off to prove that they were intellectual equals to their white counterparts.

The need for acceptance into ‘White America’ was a driving force behind the process of creating equal opportunity for blacks in this country.

Early civil rights pioneers worked tirelessly to educate their children in spite of substandard educational opportunities, so that future generations would be judged for their minds, and not the color of their skin.

There has been an effort by corporate America for some time now to incorporate the new &uot;hip-hop&uot; culture into promotional initiatives, as corporate America has recognized how much money black people are willing to spend on ‘fly-by-night fads and items that exacerbate the ‘gansta’ mentality.

So when I recently got wind of a grant that a local school was interested in obtaining that would be used to teach educators the rules of &uot;Ebonics&uot;, I was disgusted to say the least.

For those of you that don’t know, &uot;Ebonics&uot; (which by the way I’m forced to capitalize on my word processor), is defined by Dictionary.com as &uot;Black English&uot;.

Let me repeat that, Ebonics is defined on the leading online dictionary as &uot;Black English&uot;.

So this push by educators in several areas of the country is saying what exactly?

That white teachers need to be taught how black people speak so that they can teach them better?

I don’t know if that is more insulting than it is stupid, or vice versa.

The last thing that black kids today need is a free pass from having to distinguish when and where they might want to be cognizant of proper speech.

I’m sure that Buddy’s Pool Hall and Joe’s Car Wash might let you get a job without having learned the proper annunciation of the English language.

If you want career as a doctor, lawyer, police officer, teacher or, for that matter, a door greeter you might want to brush up on traditional English, and maybe buy a suit.

Do I think that the educators who attempt to introduce these types of grants and programs have less than honorable motivations when they speak about how great it would be if white teachers could talk jive?

No, it’s just another case of how disconnected from the reality of the declining social etiquette of black kids, and further attempts to dumb down the system to allow more numbers of kids to pass through and receive whatever additional grants and funding that come along with higher numbers.

Sort of like EOG exams, another brainstorm of somebody that had no clue on how to properly educate children.

EOG exams do not come close to articulating what a child has retained in school or whether or not they have developed any social or cultural skills.

It is a test that says simply, ‘if you pass this test, then you pass this class’.

It’s funny how the leaders of our educational system put so much emphasis on exams that they themselves never had to take to get where they are today.

If you think that my obvious passion about this subject is a bit overboard, I invite you to visit a couple of web sites that offer Ebonics dictionaries and Ebonics translators and you will quickly understand my ire.

Black kids today don’t need to be told that if they don’t feel like speaking properly it’s okay; the teacher will learn to speak like them.

What they need is to be made to understand that it is imperative for them to learn as much, if not more, about the proper use of language as their white counterparts, as they are already starting the race from the back of the pack.

Don’t do these kids any more favors trying to recreate educational systems that incorporate the lesser dynamic of the black experience.

I know several dozen black men and women with the letter PhD in front of their names and they had to learn English properly and as soon as possible.

Comedian Chris Rock once said that he would hear white people talking about former Secretary of State Colin Powell saying things like ‘he speaks so well ‘.

Rock’s assertion was that is something you would say about a monkey, not a college graduate.

How was he supposed to speak?

Oh that’s right, with Black English.