This session seeks papers on writing and race. Language is not merely what we do; it is who we are. When we teach Standard American English, it is useful to leverage issues of racial relevance: Black identity, our shared legacy of slavery, persistent racism, mass incarceration, ignorance all around, and the hegemony of Stanadard American English that argues on behalf of its own "rightness." Professional linguists accept Ebonics (by any other name) as a legitimate dialect; yet it is widely regarded, even in the academy, as "wrong," "ignorant," "ghetto," and "slang." Ebonics holds the keys to Black identity, pain, and "anti-intellectualism." Our linguistic separation reflects our cultural, political, economic, and educational separation. We must use the relevancies of race, history, and contemporary society in order to teach the value of Standard American English, not because it is better or right, but because it is a practical necessity for now and for some time to come.
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