Skip to comments.English: The Language of White "Oppressors"-professor: Ebonics superior to tongue of White Devils
Posted on 08/04/2005 5:06:34 AM PDT by SJackson
A Brooklyn College professor says Ebonics is superior to the tongue of White Devils
--Assistant Professor of Adolescence Education at Brooklyn College
--Teaches that rap music is an effective tool for teaching English literacy to schoolchildren, and that proper English is language of white "oppressors"
--Required students to view Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911
Priya Parmar is an Assistant Professor of Adolescence Education at Brooklyn College's School of Education in New York, where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses to aspiring teachers.
Of special interest to Parmar, whose doctoral dissertation is titled "KRS-One Going Against the Grain: A Critical Study of Rap Music as a Postmodern Text," is rap music. No mere enthusiast of the genre, Parmar holds that it is an unappreciated tool for imparting English literacy to young children: A 2003 Brooklyn College faculty newsletter reports that Parmar's scholarly writing "focuses on using hip-hop culture as a tool to increase literacy skills" in elementary and secondary schools.
Those critics who question whether rap music, with its on reliance grammar-averse Ebonics slang, is an effective medium for teaching literacy are dismissed by Parmar as craven apologists for bourgeois hegemony. "Rap music causes moral panic in many because of its 'threat' to existing values and ideologies held by the dominant middle class," asserts Parmar. On the strength of no evidence whatsoever, Parmar also claims that "research has shown that Ebonics is a legitimate systematic language." Nor does Parmar doubt that the explicit lyrics and violent subject matter of rap make perfectly appropriate learning aids for young children:
"From my experience in the classroomsand that of my students who are practitioners in the fieldwe've learned that kidseven as young as third gradeare very sophisticated about the homophobic, violent and sexual messages from some mainstream rap artists. If you give students an opportunity to deconstruct the lyrics and then compare them with those of more political and social-consciousness raising artists, such as [rap groups] The Roots and Dead Perez . . . youth are capable of distinguishing between reality and false perceptions and stereotypes perpetuated in commercialized rap."
Rap, Parmar teaches, is more than a means of teaching literacy. It is also a vehicle for social engineering. In addition to teaching children grammar and sentence structure, Parmar maintains, the "critical examination and deconstruction of rap lyrics becomes a method to get students to critically examine such issues as race, class, culture, and identity." Parmar calls this mode of instruction an "an empowering, liberating pedagogy." She notes with approval that one of her former students used rap to "explore economic social and political issues" in a middle school.
Parmar's controversial course at Brooklyn College, "Language Literacy in Secondary Education," typifies the professor's preference for politicized pedagogy. Required of all students who intend to become secondary-school teachers, the course is designed to teach students to draft lesson plans that teach literacy. Parmar's syllabus informs students that the principal focus of these lesson plans must be "social justice."
Another theme animating Parmar's course is her aversion to the proper usage of English. To insist on grammatical English, Parmar believes, is to exhibit an intolerable form of cultural chauvinisma point reinforced by the a preface to the requirements for her course, which adduces the following quotation from the South African writer, Jamul Ndebele: "The need to maintain control over English by its native speakers has given birth to a policy of manipulative open-mindedness in which it is held that English belongs to all who use it provided that it is used correctly. This is the art of giving away the bride while insisting that she still belongs to you." Students are expected to share Parmar's antipathy toward grammatical rule-based English, as she does not countenance dissent: In December of 2005, for instance, several disaffected Brooklyn College students wrote letters to the dean of the School of Education taking issue with Parmar's hostility toward students who dared voice their support for the correct usage of English.
Nor was this the only confrontation between Parmar and her students. Evan Goldwyn, a Brooklyn College student who took Parmar's course, caused a campus storm when he wrote a lengthy critique of the course detailing his objections to Parmar's teaching methods. Topping Goldwyn's list of grievances were Parmar's pronounced bias against English and her alleged bigotry against white students. "She repeatedly referred to English as a language of oppressors and in particular denounced white people as the oppressors," Goldwyn wrote. "When offended students raised their hands to challenge Professor Parmar's assertion, they were ignored. Those students that disagreed with her were altogether denied the opportunity to speak."
Students also charged that Parmar's insistence on bringing politics into the classroom went beyond issues relating to English literacy. For instance, one week before the 2004 presidential election, Parmar turned over her course to a classroom screening of Michael Moore's polemical anti-President Bush documentary, Fahrenheit 911. Students were allegedly required to attend the screening, even if they had already seen the film. "Most troubling of all," Goldwyn wrote, "she has insinuated that people who disagree with her views on issues such as Ebonics or Fahrenheit 911 should not become teachers."
Parmar, according to Goldwyn, has also retaliated against students who disagreed with her political opinions by lowering their grades. After challenging Parmar about her teaching methods, Goldwyn and another student found themselves accused of plagiarism after the semester had ended. The accusations were reportedly based on the final assignment for Parmar's course, which asked students to devise a special lesson plan for "linguistically and culturally diverse students." Following an informal investigation, conducted, at Parmar's instigation, by the dean of the education school, Goldwyn received a D-minus for the course.
It's clearly a creole, and that class of language always originates among the dispossessed.
This story be true.
Bump for later when I need a long, hearty laugh!
Uh... a newer approach to getting "Esperanto" another go? lol.
Fo shizzle ma pizzle.
Look what you get to learn at Brooklyn College....I thought this was from hip hop mag.
Re Priya Parmar:
"The ho be illin'.
Word up, yo.
I've been reading some works by the Puritans of the 1600's. Our contemporary English can't hold a candle to the sheer music of their speech.
Ebonics is a plague on the ears. It's foul and offensive to any of the Romantic languages and should be shunned by society, not embraced.
What utter rubbish.
It annoys me is that his colleagues will remain completely, even reverentially silent. And those who know better, in the university system, like Toni Morrison at Princeton or wherever the hell her Nobel tattooed ass is these days, will remain conspicuously hushed.
I have no problem with the argument that his ideas are preposterous, and beneath addressing but nonsense like this takes on a life of its own.
This teacher's indoctrination of children will have the same effect as that of a madrassa. Uncontrollable, unjustified hatred. This is not freedom of speech. Ebonics is a poor bastardization of English and should not be accepted.
That's going 100 MPH backwards.
Word up indeed.
I spend a great deal of time with the colonists: their language, ideas and monuments (Sunday I will attend a service at Pulpit Rock), and you are wholly right.
Have you read 'Mourt's Relation?'
Someday if I have my wish, in the not too distant future, you can read my pieces 'Sabbath Day' and 'Monody on a Broken Column,' both of which are about them.
I am not going to say that English is a perfect language. The spelling is not standardized and the grammar is tricky. I remember one time my six-year-old daughter asked me if there was a spelling of any word that was not a "special case".
But it is the common language of the people, and is therefore important. One can postulate all sorts of alternate languages that are more streamlined and standardized, but unless they are shared and in common use, they are just linguistic curiosities.
The fact of the matter is that Ebonics, such as it is, is the language of the underclass. There is no more certain way to ensure that a person remains in this underclass than to teach them to communicate in Ebonics. My Grandparents tried to keep my Father's generation down on the Kansas farm by teaching them only German and punishing them for speaking even a word of English. My Father did not speak English until he ran away and joined the Army.
I thank my lucky stars he escaped. I mean, I like gardening, but everything in moderation!
What up doggy!
Coming soon to your local high school! Isn't wonderful that teachers are highly-qualified experts?