The Real Ebonics Debate
Power, Language, and the Education of African-American Children
Publication Date: June 17, 1998
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In the winter of 1996, the Oakland school board's resolution recognizing Ebonics as a valid linguistic system generated a brief firestorm of hostile criticism and misinformation, then faded from public consciousness. But in the classrooms of America, the question of how to engage the distinctive language of many African-American children remains urgent. In The Real Ebonics Debate some of our most important educators, linguists, and writers, as well as teachers and students reporting from the field, examine the lessons of the Ebonics controversy and unravel the complex issues at the heart of how America educates its children.
Theresa Perry is associate professor and vice president for community relations at Wheelock College in Boston. Lisa Delpit is the Benjamin E. Mays Professor of Urban Educational Leadership at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
A dynamic collection of high-voltage writings that bring sanity and passion to the great debate about linguistics, class, and race. --Jonathan Kozol, author of Amazing Grace
"Anyone in the field of education-teacher, administrator, researcher, policy maker-who is seriously concerned with issues of race, class, and the politics of language in America's schools should read this book. It presents the most comprehensive and thoughtful discussion of Ebonics in education that I have yet encountered." --Frederick Erickson, University of Pennsylvania
"This is the best pragmatic and theoretical treatment of the recent Ebonics controversy. Great clarity and common sense come from an excellent selection of scholar-practitioners." --Asa Hilliard, Georgia State University
"At last there is a book that talks sense about the Ebonics debate and makes a powerful case for honoring the many languages we speak. A must read." --Herbert Kohl, Georgia State University
"The comprehensive source for teachers who want to be successful teachers of African-American children." --Gloria Ladsen-Billings, author of The Dreamkeepers