Ignoronics: Critical Race Theory's ancestors ⋆ Politicrossing
Connect with us

Education

Ignoronics: Critical Race Theory’s ancestors

Published

on

In 1997 there was a massive push to get a newly created “language” made official so it could be required in education and accepted everywhere. They called it “Ebonics”, the combination of Ebony (black) and Phonics (sound or language). In reality, it was an effort to gain funding for a huge government infrastructure to not only “make it OK” but actually make it important to  learn and understand the language of the streets. The uneducated misuse of English, primarily in majority black communities.

Here’s an article I wrote about it at the time. This was submitted as a “letter to the Editor” for the Opinion page of the Los Angeles Times. I don’t think they ever printed it.

My satirical tone should be evident, but, though tongue-in-cheek, I was quite serious about the faulty thinking behind this attempt to alter our society by lowering our standards for language and education. 

The reason I’m publishing it today is to draw your attention to the strategies, tactics and actions of those who are pushing yet another idea that cannot be documented with facts: Critical Race Theory. Likewise this applies to the racist concept called “The 1619 Project.”

Letter to the Editor – In other words, “to whom it may concern.”

Subject: Ignoronics Education

Date: First written in 1997, revised in 2021

From: Business author & speaker, Jim Cathcart

————————————————————————————

Author’s note: “Ebonics” is not a language. Treating it as such is an insult to the uneducated and an ineffective attempt to legitimize their ignorance. Taken seriously, and considering its broader implications, the following is worth your consideration.

————————————————————————————

In light of the recent flap over the so-called “Ebonics”, I feel it is imperative that someone speak up for the other neglected minorities. Several million citizens of this country are educationally handicapped by the fact that they grew up in an American subculture that has its own “language.”

Their access to the American Dream is limited by the fact that their teachers often don’t look like them and don’t speak the same language that they do. In fact, their teachers haven’t even been trained in how to relate “standard” English to the English variation spoken within their subculture. This causes feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

We can’t continue to disenfranchise these citizens. They and their families work, vote and pay taxes in the United States and deserve equal access to a good public education. It is only right that we dedicate some of the public resources, money, to the creation of specialized training materials, teacher training seminars, teaching tools and increased public awareness of their problem. In this way they will feel more a part of the classes and be more likely to understand “standard” English.

Granted, only through the understanding and use of “standard” English will they be able to succeed. After all, the entire business community and media networks upon which our nation relies use “standard” English as their primary and, in most cases, only language. For that matter, the business community worldwide considers “standard” English the dominant language. Those who are not knowledgeable and skilled in the use of this language are indeed limited in their ability to get jobs, vote wisely, make sales, earn promotions, capture opportunities, solve problems, or just basically get by. We must correct this situation.

The disenfranchised groups to which I refer above are:

Rednecks, Foul Mouths, Hicks, Hillbillies, Street people (formerly known as “Hoboes”), Women (girl talk), Men (guy talk), Spanglish-speakers and possibly even more.

These folks deserve a break. Really. Each of them meets the basic criteria for consideration as a genuine subculture with its own language. Not slang mind you, but real languages.

  •          They have an identifiable culture. These cultures have endured for many generations. Their language is a matter of wide awareness and public record. Movies, books, How-to-speak-it manuals and tapes, famous figures (icons) and more have validated their worthiness for being considered a language.

For example: The Rednecks- Their look, behavior patterns, regional habitats, social strata, and language are widely acknowledged. They have worldwide roots and parallel subcultures. Comedian and actor Jeff Foxworthy has brought this to light most recently, but their roots go back to earlier years. Their language is called “Good Ole Bonics”, a combination of “good old boy” and “phonics”.

  •          Foul Mouths have the biggest problem of these groups. Their language, “Profanics”, (a combination of “profanity” and “phonics”) is widely known and in popular use. This is the longest lived of all the subcultures. Yet none of the existing education is geared to reaching them. They use words like “sh*t”, which has multiple meanings.

If used as “No Sh*t”, it either means, “I am not kidding you.” or “do you really mean that?” “Get your sh*t together” means “control yourself” or “get organized.”

Their word “D*mn” could mean, “Wow!”, or “Oops”, or “That makes me mad” or half a dozen other things depending upon context.

  •          The Hicks can be recognized by their dress, grooming, areas of residence and by their language. Their roots can be traced to rural locales worldwide. “Hayseedonics” contains such words and phrases as: “Dad burn!” meaning “I’m surprised or disappointed.” “It ain’t, dun it!” which means “No that is not so. I’m emphatic about that.” Perhaps the greatest lie being perpetrated today is that “ain’t” isn’t a real word. Ask anyone who was ever exposed to “Hayseedonics” if they are aware of this word. I’ll bet 100% of the population will say “Yes I know ‘Ain’t’ and even use it occasionally.”

As you can easily see, we can’t afford to overlook the individual needs and unique cultural differences of any group.

So let’s see what we can agree on. How about this:

  • All citizens deserve access to a good education. If they or their families are contributing to our society or economy then they deserve a shot at success. If they are not members of our society, then they should be educated by that country or society to which they belong. Those who don’t yet “belong” anywhere must then make a commitment to someplace before they can expect it to make a commitment to them.
  • The general population should not be deprived of resources by requiring them to accommodate exceptional requests made by those from each subculture. (Paid for through extra taxes and fees.)
  • This is not about race, religion or subculture. It is about learning the American language, the one self-advancement skill that transcends all others in the world today.
  • There is no such language as “Ebonics” and there never was. It is merely a word recently coined to describe the vernacular used by ignorant (read “not aware”) people primarily in the black community in the United States. In fact it is defined as “black English.” Well if it is Black English, then call it that. But don’t try to sophisticate it by the creation of a new word accompanied by a request for special funding or training to help teachers learn it. That is de-education.

If you want to make a case for Black English, then first establish the criteria which it must meet in order to be considered a language. Once those criteria are agreed upon, then they must also be applied to Rednecks, Foul Mouths, and You-name-its too.

After all, we are talking about public money here. Mine and yours. If our money is to be spent on it, then it must be fair to all races and subcultures. Money must also be set aside to teach the new language to all students. To be fair, surely Yiddish (a genuine language by all standards) qualifies much more fully than any of the languages currently under consideration. Its roots are deeper, the number who speak it greater and its culture more strongly established. And what about the several dozen Native American languages which predate English in this country? Many other “sub” cultures would qualify as well.

Let’s all just grow up and realize that we can’t attend to every person and group as much as we would like to. No society has the resources to support every non-mainstream aspect of its culture. And if it did, then the citizens would have no incentive to distinguish themselves through achievement. Besides, if the individual has no personal responsibility to make adjustments, then there is no pride in the adjustment and any learning that takes place is only of token value.

         Surely we don’t need to train teachers in “baby talk” so that they can meet infants on their own level and help them transition into speaking actual words.

There is no reasonable way on earth to dilute the public resources so thoroughly that all subcultures are accommodated fairly, except by requiring them to meet certain basic criteria on their own.

These are things such as:

Willingness to attend school during normal school hours.

Desire to learn and consistent action to prove it.

Appreciation of the fact that this education is being provided for them by the taxes paid by their neighbors and fellow citizens, you and me.

Willingness to let the teachers teach and not interfere with them by demanding special attention beyond the teacher’s job description.

Realizing that all people are self-made, but, as Earl Nightingale once said, “only the successful will admit it.”

In other words, we are all personally responsible for how we turn out.

Adults can make the world more accessible to children only to a point. That point is where the public resources, money and time, run out. From that point on, it is the individual’s responsibility to do what it takes.

Ask any well adjusted person from a limited or deprived background what it took for them to do so well. Without exception they will tell you that they took what they had, did their best with it and from there on, created their own opportunities through dedication, determination and hard work.

         So let’s take all the “languages” which grew out of ignorance of English and call them collectively, “Ignoronics.” Instead of dealing with them individually, treat them as a group. In this group of “languages” the common denominator is all of them are based on ignorance of English grammar. We can then offer a balanced menu of training which all can benefit from. Then every subgroup can still relate to it. That allows us to reach out to all subgroups without unfairly accommodating some while depriving others of such specialized attention. If we single out Black English for special attention, we ignore larger and possibly more deserving groups in the process. Let’s convert all who speak these many tongues into productive well adjusted citizens by showing them a better way to communicate and not by training our teachers to speak their “Ignoronics.”

 

 

We'd love to hear your thoughts about this article. Please take a minute to share them in the comment section by clicking here. Or carry the conversation over on your favorite social network by clicking one of the share buttons below.


Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is an Executive MBA Professor, Author of 21 books, Hall of Fame Professional Speaker, Top 1% TEDx video (2.4 million views), US Army veteran, Singer/Songwriter, and Lifelong Motorcyclist. He is known as "Your Virtual VP" for his Advisory/Mentor work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 
 
 

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.



Education

Texas School District Says Enough is Enough

Published

on

school
Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

BREAKING: The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in North Texas voted last night to:

1) Ban the teaching of critical race theory. 

2) Wait until students are in the fifth grade to teach them sexual orientation and gender identity. 

3) Ban boys from playing in girls’ sports.

4) Encourage the use of pronouns that align with student’s biological gender and require them to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their biological gender.

5) Require that library materials be posted online and readily available for review by parents.

6) Not teach The New York Times “1619 Project”.

7) Implement a strict process for reviewing library books, so as to allow To Kill A Mockingbird and disallow Daddy, Papa, and Me and others.

It seems nearly incomprehensible that a school district would have to vote on measures like these. In fact, to many thoughtful Americans, it seems utterly Orwellian. How can truths about gender and the proper use of pronouns suddenly seem controversial rather than commonsensical?

Why does it seem radical to return power to parents and reaffirm biological reality? Or to keep boys from dominating girls in sports? Or to let students read revisionist history and propaganda about their nation on their own time? Why teach something that cannot withstand even the lightest objective criticism? 

Perhaps the school district’s 4-3 vote is a sign that there’s hope, that the pendulum has reached its arc and is beginning to move back toward truth and reality. Maybe the radicals are on the run.

No matter what, kudos to North Texas educators for pushing back against the absurdity and reaffirming responsible education.

Continue Reading

Education

Make Universities Accountable for Predatory Student Loan Abuse

Published

on

The Biden administration is still talking about delivering on the President’s promise to relieve student loan debt for many Americans. There is continuing discussion on how much debt should be forgiven, how to pay for it, and whether it is fair to all those who have diligently and painfully worked to already pay off their own student loans. After all, if you’re going to eliminate student debt to buy votes, why just limit it to student debt?

Unfortunately for Biden, according to numerous sources including National Review, the executive branch has no generalized power to forgive any amount of student debt. Even Nancy Pelosi confirmed simply that “the president can’t do it. That’s not even a discussion.” The Department of Education came to the same verdict, determining that the executive branch “does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.”

Of course, even if he had the authority, forgiving student debt doesn’t make the debt go away. Reality has a way of breaking into such “freeloading” dreams. It’s pay me now, or somebody else pay me later. But why should some future taxpayer pay off anyone else’s student debt?

Whatever happened to wise warnings of “student beware.” When you get an education and agree to pay the tuition, you ought to realize that you must at some point pay for that education. You signed on the bottom line. Face your real-world responsibilities. Hopefully, you picked a degree major that will ensure a career capable of paying off your loans. Students clearly have some responsibility, but what about the universities that took advantage of the money coming from those loans?

After all, there is ample evidence that student tuitions exploded far faster than inflation when government funds became readily available for student loans. Complaints of excessive tuition increases by students trapped in their programs tended to be met with a less than caring response—pound sand!

Since 2008, the tuition cost or a four-year college degree has increased nearly 25%. In that same period, student debt has doubled, increasing by 107%. 2015 study found that a dollar of subsidized student loans results in a published tuition increase of 58 cents at a typical university, An NBER paper suggests that changes to federal student loans are more than sufficient to explain tuition increases at private nonprofit colleges. And a 2014 study found that for-profit colleges eligible for federal student aid charged tuition 78% higher than that of similar but aid-ineligible institutions.

In short, there is no doubt that tuition was rising faster than the inflation level. Evidence has been clear for decades. In 1987, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett argued that “increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities to raise their tuition, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.”

Bennett pointed out in 1987 that federal student aid had risen 57 percent since 1980, while inflation had been 26 percent. A 2020 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office brought the numbers up to date: “Between 1995 and 2017, the balance of outstanding federal student loan debt increased more than sevenfold, from $187 billion to $1.4 trillion (in 2017 dollars).” What is the lesson? The more federal aid to students is available colleges raise tuition more. Salaries rise and bureaucracies expand. There are more courses, more dorms, dining halls, lavish recreational centers, and more money for endowments.

Far too many students find that once they begin their education, their schools raise the tuition at such a high rate that their debt explodes. The university builds their endowment, and the “trapped” student is compelled to finish what they started at a cost they did not expect to have to pay. In such a situation, should not the university be responsible for any increased cost above the increase in cost of living during the same time? It’s time for universities to take responsibility for their share of student debt.

The universities that benefited from these loans should have a part in footing the bill. That means universities that raked in millions to inflate endowments should be holding the bag for those who can’t afford to pay their loans. With universities holding hundreds of billions of dollars in tax-free endowments, any government program to relieve student debt should be completely dependent on taxing those university endowments.

It’s time to counter the Democrats’ vote-buying scheme by making lasting changes to the student loan process. That means putting universities on the hook for their predatory behavior. That will go much further than a temporary payoff that does nothing to solve what is causing the problem.

Continue Reading

 

Our Newsletter

Become a Politicrossing insider: Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.

Sites We Like

Our Newsletter

Become a PolitiCrossing insider: Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.

Trending