The start of summer – it’s not pretty

The hot weather has arrived. After pumping gas I hit the button to show the outside temperature and it registered 118. The other day in a parking lot it registered 122. You might think the gauges are off but in the grocery store we were comparing notes and people were getting the same figures. The airport temp at those times is 109, 113, but the asphalt radiates so much heat it makes it much hotter if you are outside in concrete and asphalt areas.
I recently started an off-shoot listserv just for discussing ways of establishing and building relationships with students. It appears to be off to a good start once we got over the 309 computer glitches or program malfunctions or badly designed web pages. One hopes the content is worthy of the effort.
Recently I tried to get a person on a listserv to provide some concrete examples, evidence, reports, etc. concerning the use of English, what he termed bad grammar. I was adamant that he provide specifics. This elicited a post from a long-time member whose posts I’ve usually not liked. The content showed clearly 2 things: he did not understand that I said we need to teach standard English and he focused way too much on Black English, what he dubbed a patois and a few other terms some might regard as derogatory or pejorative. Anyway, it was a nice display of the latent racism underlying so much of this correct grammar crap. What they are really talking about is social issues reflected in language use.
Appropriately, in the George Zimmerman trial in the killing of Trayvon Martin, we saw this week what I believe Chris Hayes called a clash of cultures between the defense attorney and the last person to talk to Trayvon. The nineteen year old girl of Haitian origin (English is her second language and it is Black English, not standard) might have struggled to make herself understood, but instead she presented a “welcome to my world” scenario to the world, at one point asking the attorney, “You got it?” Some said, of course, that she antagonized the all White jury, but Black kids have been antagonizing White people a long time. Several teachers left my school specifically because of the back talk they got from Hispanic kids; in their world, Blacks and Mexicans and Indians just don’t talk back to White people.
So it’s nice when people voice these feelings, whether they be teachers or champions of proper English. The message is clear: this is White Man’s country.

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