Ebonics and woke culture – the lowest possible common denominator

by Mustang

In 1979 an attorney representing black students at Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, sued the school district in federal court, alleging that the school denied black students “equal protection under the law” because Michigan’s educational standards failed to recognize the social, economic, and cultural factors that made blacks different from white students.

The plaintiffs made several ludicrous claims in the suit, all of which the court rejected except for the last issue, which was that the school district must find a way to identify black English speakers in school and use that knowledge in teaching students how to read standard English.  The decision was somewhat vague; I’m not sure how school district officials complied with the court order.

In December 1996, the Oakland California Unified School District resolved to recognize the legitimacy of Ebonics in classroom instruction.  For the unaware, Ebonics is also known as African-American Vernacular English.  Other, less charitable people sometimes refer to it as “nigger talk” and “gutter English.”  We frequently hear it recited in rap.  Now, honestly, rap is a word, but it has nothing to do with music, so I try to avoid making such a connection.


An example of Ebonics might be, “Yo blood, I won axe you sompin.”  In describing “rap,” someone has taken pains to elaborate further by describing it as “spitting” street vernacular.  Apparently, this is how blacks talk to one another in their neighborhoods, where men commonly refer to women as “ho’s” and “bitches,” and male friends are M-F-ers.  Impressed with these expressions, Oakland school officials thought it would be a nifty idea to recognize this way of talking as an acceptable standard for teaching black students.

The resolution called for mandating classroom instruction in Ebonics to “maintain the legitimacy and richness of such language [and] facilitate their acquisition and mastery of English language skills.”  The school district also thought it would be a good idea to pay teachers more money to demonstrate mastery of gutter talk in their classrooms.

The resolution set off a firestorm of controversy, as it should have.  The arguments ranged from claims that Ebonics is not an acceptable language in any country (including any African country) to those who wanted federally funded programs to consider applying Ebonics to bilingual programs.  Not even Jesse Jackson was behind this idea, describing it as “disgraceful.”  Jackson, of course, later reversed his position.

Oakland USD last modified its resolution claiming that Ebonics was a “genetically-based” language, by which these educators argued that black students were biologically predisposed to gutter talk.  They claimed that the origins of Ebonics were part of the Niger-Congo language family and not mere dialects of English.

Since 1997, no one has demonstrated any value to teaching blacks children Shakespeare in gutter language.  One can only imagine what Hamlet, Act III, Scene I might look, or sound like in the gutter talk of the majority of our black populations:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep…”

Notwithstanding that particular controversy, we have progressed to gutter culture, spoken most often as “Woke Culture.”  Rather than proclaiming, “It is time we awaken to certain realities,” is has become fashionable to say, “Be woke, blood.”  And so, it has come to pass, thanks in considerable measure to the communist media, black activists, and other morons who stumble around in the night.  But such an expression is not recently arrived in our crumbling society.  Black folk singer Huddie Ledbetter (also known as Led Belly) first used “woke” in a 1938 song — “bess stay woke.”


The Oxford English Dictionary traces the earliest usage to a 1962 New York Times article titled, “If You’re Woke, You Dig It.”  The article’s author was black writer William Melvin Kelley, who sought to describe the appropriation of black talk by white beatniks.  Now we have white “rappers” who are clearly advanced in such proficiencies.

In 2010, “woke” meant to suggest romantic infidelity.  Within a few years, the expression morphed into meaning an awareness of (mostly) racial discrimination — in both cases popularized in musical verse.  Following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014, activists associated with “Black Lives Matter” seized the “woke” expression as their standard.  Since then, the term has become a familiar refrain on “black Twitter” (which, presumably, no well-educated person can read).  It was spoken so often that brainless white kids began using it and applying it to their own meaningless lives.

Now we have “Woke Vote” and numerous “hashtag” applications.  It is perhaps interesting to note that blacks positively hate the fact that white teenagers have stolen their favorite gutter word as their own standard, even though 99.9% of these kids have no idea what it means.

Speaking of clueless, the more recently, leftist politicians have seized the word to describe their anti-Trump/anti-White/anti-Christian/anti-Conservative positions on nearly everything.  For example, on the political left, being “woke” means accepting the argument that the United States was never a true democracy, that there is nothing exceptional about the American Republic, and that the United States deserved the attack on 9/11.

Well, of course, it’s true that the United States has never been a true democracy; it’s a Republic.  But who among us, with two or more functioning brain cells, doesn’t know that?  Here’s something else that’s true: there’s nothing exceptional about that part of our society that raises gutter language and behavior as their standard — but that’s the terminus of progressive attitudes, policies, and programs.

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

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