The San Bernadino, Calif. high school district is now discussing the implementation of Ebonics – the street language of young African Americans – to be taught as if it were a foreign language.
This is sheer idiocy, and anybody who would even consider such an outrageous idea has certainly never been to Africa. This Ebonics nonsense will do nothing but hold back black youngsters, keeping them behind such immigrants as the Vietnamese, who are struggling to make their way in a nation whose language they know they must learn to get ahead.
When I read this Ebonics story I recalled driving around in Nairobi, Kenya, just a week or so ago. I saw a billboard advertisement for Sony that read “Da Man and da Music.” I asked a young Kenyan what he thought of that condescending ad and he said, “Oh, we speak the King’s English here. We never speak that way.”
As I traveled around Kenya I learned that in Kenya English is the official language, and certainly not Ebonics – a gutter language Kenyans never heard of.
Education is mandatory for all children and is paid for by the government. If the children don’t go to the government schools they are obliged to go to private schools, and their tuition must be paid by their parents. As a result of this, Kenyans have lifted their literacy rate to almost 79 percent because they understand that education is the most important means to lift them and their land out of poverty and into a prosperous future.
The two things that most amazed me during my African safari were first, seeing the many children walking to school in the uniforms all students must wear, and that all the way up through high school they would have to walk two or three miles to get to their classrooms carrying back packs and books, all with big smiles on their faces.
Second, if you stop to give them a little gift such as a pen, they come up to you and smile and say “thank you.”
That would not happen in this country. To begin with you’d be afraid to let them walk to school for fear that all those pedophiles out there would kidnap and rape them. School children in Kenya are safer than our kids here in the United States because they don’t put up with pedophiles over there.
The children are more polite, they understand the importance of education and the importance of learning the English language for business purposes in the future.
Moreover, every child is multilingual. They speak Swahili, their native language, they speak their tribal language, and they speak English and sometimes a foreign tongue as well.
When I visited a Masai village in a remote area I learned that these pastoral people who raise cows have a keen understanding of the importance of education, so much so that in their tiny villages where the buildings are all made from cow dung – they are happy about it because Jesse Jackson isn’t there to tell them they shouldn’t live in houses made of cow dung – they all have one-room schoolhouses.
They have built them just outside their villages and the kids go to school every day. I visited one of these schools where the students were between four and eight, and was amazed to see that just as in my school days they had the ABCs posted on the wall along with a 1-to-100 chart. Every one of those children could count to 100, they knew the English alphabet, and they were learning English and arithmetic. I could not help but think that there is not a single public school in America where children that age would know the English alphabet or count to 100.
Why would San Bernardino consider doing such a great disservice to the black community? It is sure to hurt their black students by not teaching them how to speak the proper English they need to get by.
It’s interesting that if real Africans get it, why can’t African Americans get it? I think the answer is that the American educrat establishment doesn’t want them to.
©2005 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561