New Education Principles 101 Textbook: New Education Principles 101 will revolve around a list of Educational Priorities and selected online essays. Find essays by scrolling down this page. Instructor: Mba Mbulu

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Class #3

EDUCATIONAL PRIORITIES

(1) We have to prepare educators and teachers who are not afraid or ashamed to act Black and promote a Black reality, a Black world view.

(2) We must establish an independent educational system that revolves around a Black Studies system of education and stresses the importance of an independent Black Power base.

(3) Those of Us who teach within the traditional education system must be daring, creative, assertive and conscious of the legitimacy of Our uniqueness.

Class Assignment

Read the essay on Ebonics that follows. Be able to relate that essay to the educational priorities listed above. Also be prepared to respond to the following questions.

(1) Is the issue of language relevant to "alternative" education?

(2) To speak is to represent a culture, a value system, a way of life. For the most part, Black People are ashamed of the way they talk. Can a people who are ashamed of the way they talk do a fair job of assessing their language? Will their "elite", consciously or otherwise, misrepresent their language or make it more palatable to another standard?

(3) What is meant by the following quotation?

"A language represents a nation of people. As such, Ebonics is not in search of America's public school system, it is in search of the Black People, the Black Nation that it represents, that it augurs, that it prophesizes."

(4) Does the above quotation suggest that Ebonics should not be taught in Anerica's public school system?

(5) Generally, a people does not have to justify or legitimize its language or way of talking. The legitimacy of the language comes with its development. What, then, does the fact that Black People are trying so hard to legitimize Ebonics or Black Talk suggest about Our perception of Ourselves?

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Essay #3: "Ebonics"

Being able to think clearly and logically is of paramount importance to Black People throughout the world. When Our thought processes are overly influenced by a hostile educational system, clear thinking and logic tend to escape Our grasp, and We tend to either get engrossed in unworthy issues or approach worthy issues improperly.

I am going to talk about Ebonics in this essay. For those who don't know, Ebonics is "Black Talk"; the unique way in which Black People in the United States use English sounding terms and phrases to communicate with other individuals. For various reasons, some Blacks want Ebonics recognized as a distinct language and taught in America's public school system.

There are two major angles that need to be explored before We formally introduce Ebonics into America's public school system. The first is whether or not We have documented the essence of the language to the point where We can protect it and defend its intricacies. The second revolves around the reasons for wanting Ebonics taught in America's public school system. We should not waste time arguing with naysayers about whether or not Ebonics is a legitimate language; its legitimacy is beyond contradiction. But that alone is not enough to justify introducing it into America's public school system. First, some basics.

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The essence of a language is the existence of a distinct cultural and social reality that is so replete, so beyond contradiction that it proclaims the existence of a distinct political reality. In other words, a language either indicates that an independent nation already exists or declares that a heretofore unrecognized nation is emerging. Thus, a language is much more than a way of expressing yourself, communicating with others or obtaining employment. Frantz Fanon made this crystal clear nearly fifty years ago. A language is a declaration of your world view and a declaration of your determination to defend your world view and make an impact on the world view of others. Because it is so critical, a language should not be subjected to the oversight or supervision of hostile people or institutions. It must be asked, then, "Can the advocates of Ebonics adequately manage it and maintain control over it within a hostile educational environment?" Let's not deceive Ourselves; Black educators make less use of Ebonics than most members of Our race. Do they understand and believe in Ebonics dearly enough and consciously enough to defend its intricacies, its integrity and its essence within institutions that are controlled by hostile elements?

As I stated earlier, there is no question that Ebonics is a legitimate language. But We must remember that Ebonics has been traditionally treated as a renegade form of speech even by Black People, especially educated Blacks. That Our treatment of Our language is a consequence of Our mis-education and mis-orientation is certain, but that does not change the fact that, for the longest time, We failed to care for, nurture and give Our language the scientific attention it deserves. This must be done before We introduce it to a hostile environment.

In a hostile arena, an "at a distance" and/or second-nature understanding of Ebonics will not enable Us to represent it adequately or protect it. In fact, We have to be so consciously knowledgeable of Our language that We can detail its overall structure, access its smallest parts, identify its usual and arcane modes of interplay and articulate that understanding well enough to teach it, defend it and protect it. Can We do that yet? Can We keep foreign elements from undermining Ebonics, disproportionately bastardizing it, diluting its essence, trivializing it or making it more palatable to proponents of standard English? If We can't, We should not invite others to critically examine it (that is, expose it to the influence of hostile institutions). Instead, We should keep it among Ourselves until the simple and complex tasks of properly nurturing and documenting it have been completed.

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If We can already defend its integrity, those who appreciate Ebonics must ask why We would want it taught in America's public school system. Are We demanding that Ebonics be validated and recognized (psychologically speaking) by a hostile socio-educational system? Are We suggesting that Our unique way of communicating has as much right to access America's status quo institutions as standard English does? Or are We asserting that the public education system is presently the most accessible means of helping Black students appreciate and articulate their uniqueness? If the latter is the purpose, then full speed ahead. If the purpose is to impress and clarify the concept of an independent Black reality in the minds of young students, then I repeat, "Full speed ahead." However, if its purpose is to enable Black students to get better grades in America's schools, enter corporate America's employment doors more easily and become more attached to America's "isms", then it should be abandoned immediately.

Let Us not forget: the primary mission of any language is to serve its innate purpose. That purpose, for Ebonics, lies within the essential impulses of the Black Nation, among its Black entrails and surrounded by its Black minds, spirits and bodies. Any purpose for using Ebonics other than the promotion of Our Black essence is therefore misguided.

My opinion is that Black students who do not perform well in school are not hampered by linguistic shortcomings inasmuch as they are motivated by innate impulses to defend their integrity. Young individuals realize when they might be under attack and respond by either counter-attacking or rejecting what they think is attacking them. That is evidence that such students are not only smart, but exceptional. If only Black adults were as exceptional.

Take note: A language represents a nation of people. As such, Ebonics is not in search of America's public school system, it is in search of the Black People, the Black Nation that it represents, that it augurs, that it prophesizes. Once We establish the physical reality of that nation (a Republic of New Afrika, or its equivalent), Black students will be accorded the recognition and respect they deserve, and Black People will benefit from the genius of Black students.

Remember: We are Black People, We are not dark-skinned white people. We need a Nation of Our own.

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