James Baldwin, “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”

Category : Race, Students, Writing

St. Paul de Vence, France – The argument concerning the use, or the status, or the reality, of black english is rooted in American history and has absolutely nothing to do with the question the argument supposes itself to be posing. The argument has nothing to do with language itself but with the role of language. Language, incontestably, reveals the speaker. Language, also, far more dubiously, is meant to define the other – and, in this case, the other is refusing to be defined by a language that has never been able to recognize him.

Source: The New York Times (29 July 1979)

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