Higher education (if that’s what you want to call it)

In case you wonder how well your tax dollars are spent on higher education, begin with UW–Madison’s Daily Cardinal:

In classrooms across the country, students might be scolded for using “ain’t” instead of “isn’t.” But a UW-Madison student is working to erase the stigma against Ebonics, also known as African-American Vernacular English.

UW-Madison junior Erika Gallagher conducted research about code switching, also known as code meshing, in which people change their regular speech tendencies to fit into the mold of what is commonly accepted as appropriate.

Ebonics is a variety of English that is commonly found in the center of large cities that have been historically populated primarily by black people. It is commonly found in slam poetry, as well as hip-hop and rap music.

Gallagher, a Posse scholar, began her research during her time as an undergraduate Writing Fellow this semester. She said she realized, as she sat in her seminar class of predominantly white students, that she wanted to focus on standard written English and how it excludes marginalized groups.

“I want to center the voices of the people who need to be centered,” Gallagher said. “As a Writing Fellow, as a white-passing person, I have a lot of power and privilege that should be shared.”

Gallagher conducted much of her research through three interviews. She talked to UW-Madison student leaders from marginalized groups and asked how they felt about code switching. She said all three “overwhelmingly” said it felt oppressive—one said “it is the biggest form of cognitive dissonance that exists.”

She presented her research at the Collegiate Conference on Composition and Communication in Portland, Ore., earlier this semester. She was selected as one of roughly two dozen undergraduates from across the U.S. to participate in the conference, which is typically attended by graduate students and professors.

Gallagher said she hopes to develop her research into a nonprofit organization that “teaches teachers to teach,” with the goal that educators will eventually express disclaimers at the start of each semester that state they will accept any form of English that students are comfortable with.

She also hopes increased acceptance of different rhetoric will encourage the formation of a campus-wide diversity statement.

“Just because you speak a different way doesn’t mean you’re not smart, but there’s a huge stigma around it,” Gallagher said. “I want to teach [educators] a different rhetoric, teach them to be more accepting.”

A “white-passing person.” Really nothing more needs to be said after that.

Fortunately, not all of the Daily Cardinal’s readers are idiots, as demonstrated by these comments:

Using correct English doesn’t ‘exclude’ anyone. People choose to exclude themselves by refusing to use it. But hey, go ahead and stick it to the man by refusing the benefits of literacy: financial independence, career success, and the ability to think and reason.

Let’s just call it what it is, racist. I would have expected this in the 1960’s, not the 21st century. How does she explain the fact that immigrants can come to this country and speak perfect proper English in less than 10 years. Using Ebonics in places where it is never spoken would be detrimental to those speaking it.

BASED ON three interviews? Three? Really, just three? Has this young lady taken ANY courses in Statistics? Obviously not. This is complete and total nonsense. Three. Think about that.

‘A white-passing person’? Are you f-ing serious? If this is what tax payer-subsidized higher education has become in this country, it’s time for a national enema of this schools.

IMHO this isn’t logical; if children are to be afforded equal opportunity, then they must feel comfortable moving in all walks of life; It is difficult enough for a young adult to move out into the wider world without being saddled with ignorance of common social conventions; A child who is not taught basics in the home, such as table manners, forms of address, standard English, etc, will, in new social settings, be overloaded by the demands of unfamiliar social conventions, when they should be free to let their talents shine; “manners”, including a common tongue, are the lubricant that allows a diverse society to function smoothly. And, these things, and most particularly language, are most readily learned by the young.

But wait! There’s more, from the College Fix:

If you want to schedule a meeting at Clemson University that starts on time … well, that’s not going to happen.

The university warns faculty not to enforce start times for gatherings in an online training featuring “fictional characters,” made public by Campus Reform:

On another slide, a character named Alejandro schedules a 9:00 a.m. meeting between two groups of foreign professors and students. The first group arrived fifteen minutes early, while the second arrived ten minutes late [and wanted to “socialize” first]. According to the answers, it is wrong for Alejandro to “politely ask the second group to apologize,” or explain that “in our country, 9:00 a.m. means 9:00 a.m.”

It disrespects other people’s cultures to ask them to follow American conventions of appointments starting when they are literally scheduled to start, the slide continues:

Alejandro should recognize and acknowledge cultural differences with ease and respect. Cultures view many things, including death, prosperity and even colors, quite differently. Time may be considered precise or fluid depending on the culture. For Alejandro to bring three cultures together he must start from a place of respect, understanding that his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.

Another slide explains hierarchies of privilege. A female hiring manager with a common white name is accused by a woman with an African American name of not giving her a job interview because her competition is a “white male.”

Hiring manager Stephanie should “reflect on her behavior to see if Tanisha is correct” and contact Clemson’s departments of human resources and “Access and Equity” about the African American woman’s accusation.

There is much more revealed in the training, created by compliance training provider Workplace Answers, which cost Clemson nearly $27,000. The invoice went to the department led by Chief Diversity Officer Lee Gill, who earns $185,850 per year.

Employees who do not complete the “inclusion awareness course” will get “two automated reminders,” according to emails to faculty from HR and the Office of Inclusion and Equity.

That prompted these comments:

Does the offensive line of Clemson’s football team have to show up at kickoff, or can they wander in during the first quarter?

Well football is important. This businessy stuff is just a bunch of nonsense anyway.

When they get fired for habitual tardiness they can thank the University for such poor guidance


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