DURST: Black English

Since December is to hard news what Jamie Farr is to Ibsen, the whole world now knows of the Oakland, CA Board of Education's resolution requiring its teachers to understand and appreciate black English, and to say the response has been provocative is real similar to calling an oil refinery's sloughing pool unsuitable for pre school swimming lessons. The uproar over Ebonics, which is a contraction of ebony and phonics, has mainly managed to frighten white people who must be afraid fluency will be mandatory while ordering ribs. Funny how no one ever objected to Ivonics, or ivory phonics, which the black community has been quietly translating for generations. Allow me to decipher a couple of key phrases.Ivonics: "I'm sorry sir, but that position has just been filled."Real English: "As soon as I saw your raggedy black ass in my freshly scrubbed waiting room, it was."Ivonics: "Perhaps Madame et Monsieur would be more comfortable over here."Real English: "This table is within arm's reach of the chicken wings buffet."Ivonics: "Boy that Jordan kid can really play."Real English: "They've ruined the game."Ivonics: "Look at the craftsmanship. That Johnson sure is good with his hands."Real English: "He'd better be, cuz he ain't getting an office job."Ivonics: "Prop 209 is a way to end discrimination of all kinds in America."Real English: "We liked it better the old way."Will Durst thinks he's just scratched the surface of Ivonics.


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