An Analysis Of Media Coverage Of Ebonics: Incorporating Black English Into The Curriculum

An Analysis Of Media Coverage Of Ebonics: Incorporating Black English Into The Curriculum

Length: 4963 words (14.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


The debate on Ebonics has virtually left the media spotlight. The proposal by the Oakland School District in early 1997 to use Ebonics to help African-American children learn Standard English met with much opposition. Few people supported the Oakland resolution which, backed by the Linguistic Society of America, acknowledged Ebonics as a language variety complete with its own syntax, structure, and rules of grammar.

The media triggered a dialogue among Americans about the appropriateness of Ebonics in the classroom. "Are you for or against Ebonics?" was a common question many Americans pondered at work, at restaurant lunch counters, and in classrooms across the country. The issue divided Americans, not so much along racial lines, but along lines of understanding. Many people were unclear about the history of Ebonics, the premise and contentions of the Oakland School District's proposal, and the implications of educators beginning to appreciate Ebonics as a distinct language variety. Thus, part of this paper will explore further the educational implications of using Ebonics to improve the literacy of black students. This will be preceded by an analysis of how the New York Times and Los Angeles Times covered the Ebonics issue, and how each (to some extent) helped to legitimize and sustain negative attitudes toward Ebonics.

The Meaning of Ebonics

The term "Ebonics"was first coined in January, 1973 by Dr. Robert Williams, a professor of Psychology at Washington University. The term, which is a compound of "ebonies" and "phonics"(black sounds) refers to the language of West African, Cameroonian, and U.S. slave descendants of Niger-Congo origins. Some linguists disagree about whether Ebonics, or Black English ...

... middle of paper ...

...tions in English: What Role for Education?"(Opinion/Position Paper, 1991). ED 347796.

McWhorter, John. "Wasting Energy on An Illusion." The Black Scholar 27 (1997): 2-5.

Oneil, W. "If Ebonics Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?" Rethinking Schools 12.1 (1997): 10-11.

"Original Oakland Resolution on Ebonics"(

Secret, Carrie. Interview. Rethinking Schools. Fall 1997: 18-19, 34.

Smith, E. "What Is Black English? What Is Ebonics?" Rethinking Schools 12.1 (1997): 14-15.

Taylor, Hanni. "Ambivalence Toward Black English: Some Tentative Solutions." The Writing Instructor Spring (1991): 121-135.

Williams, Patricia. "The Hidden Meanings of Black English." The Black Scholar 27 (1997) 7-8.

Winters, Clyde A. "Non-Standard English and Reading"(Opinion/Position Paper, 1993). ED 358438.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Media 's Impact On Society Essay

- The media is a profoundly impactful outlet, which has the capability and power to change ones perception about something or someone. However, there are innumerable portrayals that are deemed stereotypical to many people, such as Black people, who happen to face those cynical depictions. Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager from Ferguson, Missouri was killed by former and now resigned officer Darren Wilson in 2014. Brown was portrayed as a nonchalant troubled student who bullied people. The media failed to enlighten the greater public on how he was supposed to go to college the day after he was murdered and how he was a compassionate kid who loved and care for children....   [tags: African American, Black people, White people]

Powerful Essays
1589 words (4.5 pages)

Essay The National Media's Biased Coverage of Obamacare

- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) has a goal to expand coverage, control healthcare costs, and improve the health care delivery system. Being one of the last wealthy countries without a universal healthcare plan, the website launch of on October 1, 2013 was supposed to be a ground breaking event in the fact that The United States government was moving towards a healthcare system where private insurance companies would have government implemented regulations and subsidides to ensure universal coverage and non-dicrimination; however, this change was soon seen as an international concern....   [tags: Media's Biased Coverage]

Powerful Essays
2261 words (6.5 pages)

Media Coverage Of The Black Lives Matter Essay

- Very little has reformed from the earlier few decades when reexamining the 1992 election race for the presidency. Sulking tempers, outbursts, and verbal abuse may have reached all-time highs between candidates; however, the promises made and ideas imposed by each elective have not budged an inch. Per the National Bureau of Economic Research, ethnic diversity seems to be the major determinant for rioting in L.A., while little evidence points to poverty in the community as a large cause. (Glaeser 1) Media coverage of the riots would provide ample election exposure to the running nominees....   [tags: Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton]

Powerful Essays
746 words (2.1 pages)

The Media Coverage Of Hurricane Katrina Essay

- In the early morning hours on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States devastating the coastal line from central Florida to Texas driving many residents from their homes and causing them to flee for their lives. This paper will address concerns of racism that was found in the media coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath and then compare and contrast ethical issues in the publishing of two extremely controversial photos. Lastly, this paper will critically analyze the role that the media has in our culture and how the role the media plays can impact social change within our society....   [tags: Ethics, Hurricane Katrina, Morality, Black people]

Powerful Essays
1157 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Media Coverage On The Media

- The escalation of media coverage surrounding devastating events, created another form of television for society: unscripted, reality television. As images of devastating events occurred, the media coverage shaped society’s opinion, invoking fear from urban area to suburbia. Celebrity reputations were quickly altered by allegations of heinous events, whereas, terrorists and teens were escalating to infamy. Was the news the culprit for inciting fear and chaos in an already insecure environment. Did the structure of the media outlets so closely mimic that of the entertainment industry that society could no longer distinguish between celebrity news and news that created celebrities....   [tags: Mass media, News media]

Powerful Essays
1867 words (5.3 pages)

Media Coverage of the Presidential Campaign Essay

- An important case study subject that relates to journalism ethics is how today's news broadcasts and papers report the presidential campaign. More specifically, how journalism ethics affects the reports covering the republican debates and primaries. Additionally, the media has taken a high interest in reporting coverage about republican candidate Rick Santorum. Not only are the republican primaries important with the upcoming presidential campaign against President Barrack Obama, but also because the candidates provide interesting news coverage....   [tags: Media]

Powerful Essays
1395 words (4 pages)

Media Coverage : The Biggest Problem With Their Coverage Essay

- However, the biggest problem with their coverage doesn’t have to do with their misrepresentation of Ramos or the event but rather with their omissions. It is clear that the media coverage focused on highlighting Ramos’ faults and the “predictability” of the event but not once was Trump and his authority questioned. One would assume that if a journalist was ejected from a news conference for wanting to ask a question, journalists would stand with the journalist. After all, it is a journalist’s job to question authority....   [tags: Mass media, Journalism, Journalist, Reporter]

Powerful Essays
759 words (2.2 pages)

Discrepancy in Media Coverage Essay

- The discrepancies in media coverage in coverage of female and children athletics have large gaps, but are gaining momentum in sharing equality. Major athletic leagues such as the NBA and FIFA World Cup have wide gaps in marketing and ratings for their male and female athletes. Children are future athletes and superstars, but as funding and coverage in athletics catering to the males, women are breaking the barriers to be in the spotlight of sport. Both gender contribute equally to athletics, and challenge the each other to accept new ideas and change....   [tags: Media]

Powerful Essays
2534 words (7.2 pages)

Media Coverage of Canada's Literacy State Essay

- The media coverage has been consistent throughout the last ten years. The issue receives attention from the media when their is a study released by Statistics Canada or NGOs. These studies produces reports that are covered nationally. Other parts of the issue covered nationally are events that are meant to be national such as writing contests and other events meant to be national .The rest of the media coverage is local. The issue receives attention when their are events organized around the issue by NGOs such as Family Literacy Day .A national event established by the NGO ABC Life Literacy Canada.This gives the media focus and a reason to report on the issue ....   [tags: Media]

Powerful Essays
1445 words (4.1 pages)

Media Coverage Regarding The Shooting Of Michael Brown Essay

- A large amount of media coverage and controversy had struck Ferguson, Missouri after black eighteen year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th, 2014. Brown and a friend had been walking home from recently robbing a convenience store when Officer Wilson stopped the two gentlemen for walking in the middle of the street. This is where the controversy begins. The only thing that is known for certain about the rest of the situation is that Michael Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson....   [tags: News media, Mass media, Journalism, Media studies]

Powerful Essays
1323 words (3.8 pages)