Added: Yedidya Watkin - Date: 20.12.2021 19:59 - Views: 20792 - Clicks: 7784
The recent events across the globe that have erupted following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May caused ripple effects across many spaces where racialization occurs daily against Black and brown bodies. One of these often-overlooked spaces is in academic context of universities and schools. Black and brown speakers in this space who wish to advance must illustrate that they can use language and use it well.
To use language well in the US context, more often than not, means to write and speak English in ways that are acceptable in academic spaces. When Black immigrants arrive in the US, they become subsumed into the broader Black American population. Many of them have used these Englishes in their home countries where there are often mostly Black speakers such as themselves. They do not expect that these Englishes might seem different to their peers in the US academy because the Englishes have ly been accepted in the academic spaces of their home countries.
But they are in for a surprise. For the Black immigrant, this realization causes confusion. Unlike their Black American peers, Black immigrants do not often realize that not only are they using Englishes that seem different, but also, that they are now Black in a White world.
Others who had been opposed to vernacular uses of English in their home countries, for the first time, often remember how terrible they made students feel when using these vernacular Englishes in formal academic spaces. And still others think that if only they can use the Standard American English as they should, they may be able to thrive.
I also asked them to describe how they coped with the challenges they faced as they used these Englishes. I chose educators because Colleges of Education are a primary space where academia where teachers, educators, administrators, and others are tasked to guide teachers to address the needs of diverse K students in a myriad of subject areas. I also chose educators because Colleges of Education are increasingly responsible for addressing diversity on university campuses, but do not often recognize how their international policies can impact K students.
I chose Black immigrant faculty because of the intersecting factors of race, migration, and linguistic difference, that position them as uniquely positioned to speak to the ways in which the use of Standard English in the US academy affects them. And I chose Black immigrants who were users of Standard Englishes in their home countries and teachers in these countries before migrating to the US. These feelings of illegitimacy came from the negative reactions of individuals to their connotations and vocabulary, from the racial expectations associated with their accents, and from the lack of respect for the interplay among their race, foreignness and accents.
The Black immigrant speakers experienced weird looks, disregard of their communication and the content of their conversations, silence in response to what they attempted to say, responses from others that were disconnected from the. In turn, they withdrew emotionally and socially, felt hurt, were in shock, often lost for words in conversation, stopped caring, stopped expressing themselves, and had less to say overall. As they processed these experiences, the speakers tried to use language in ways that could enable them to feel legitimate by slowing down their speech, managing their use of vocabulary, code switching, redirecting individuals to learn about their own vocabulary, intentionally managing rapport, hypothesizing about expectations of the professorial audience when writing academically, and changing from British to American writing.
They explained that their friends, fraternities, self-talk, colleagues, as well as understanding the social norms surrounding the geographical context into which they had migrated, all enabled them to work towards this legitimacy. In essence, the US academy in which they operated, worked in such a way that they received the message that it was not enough to use Standard Englishes in their own sanctioned ways. Certain Black speakers such as the Ghanaian immigrant faculty member did not adjust their way of using Standard English. Other Black speakers from the study decided when, where, and how they would adjust their use of standard Englishes based on their understandings about new expectations of them based on race, language and foreignness.
Academic systems that continue to legitimize White language norms that privilege one Standard English over others place an undue burden on Black speakers to adjust to these norms. Already, certain White students have shown Black immigrant faculty that they are eager to do so. Now, Eurocentric systems can as well. Please read our comments policy before commenting. In , Dr. Smith was elected to the Board of […]. Facebook Facebook. Share this:. What does this mean for Black American English speakers?
What does this mean for Black immigrant English speakers? The need to have Eurocentric systems carry the burden that Black immigrant and Black American speakers bear Academic systems that continue to legitimize White language norms that privilege one Standard English over others place an undue burden on Black speakers to adjust to these norms.
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