Police Hammered For Learning Ebonics

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Mo the Ethio

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070831/ap_on_re_us/handbook_flap

      America is a multi-lingual society. Law enforement personal are obliged to understand and communicate effectively with all citizens ( and non-citizens).
               

     
 

ozgeorge

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Mo the Ethio said:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070831/ap_on_re_us/handbook_flap

      America is a multi-lingual society. Law enforement personal are obliged to understand and communicate effectively with all citizens ( and non-citizens).
Are you serious?
I think you'd better read the article again.
 

DerekMK

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Are you serious?
I think you'd better read the article again.
I think the problem in this case wasn't that the police department in question is opposed to communicating with those who primarily speak AAVE.  Instead it is a touchy issue - if someone from suburbia (regardless of race) tries to use AAVE to someone it is percieved as talking down or insulting to that person. 

It is a difficult situation since real life doesn't have subtitles:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=btPkVSUzkU4

Nor is a translator always handy:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=HHdpBsTaSNI
 

PeterTheAleut

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Νεκτάριος said:
I think the problem in this case wasn't that the police department in question is opposed to communicating with those who primarily speak AAVE.  Instead it is a touchy issue - if someone from suburbia (regardless of race) tries to use AAVE to someone it is percieved as talking down or insulting to that person. 

It is a difficult situation since real life doesn't have subtitles:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=btPkVSUzkU4

Nor is a translator always handy:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=HHdpBsTaSNI
It's like the use of the N word.  Blacks living in the cities, at least in my city, call themselves that all the time.  Yet if some white guy like me were to call a black the N word, he'd likely get his block knocked off for speaking an insulting racist epithet.
 

Mo the Ethio

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ozgeorge said:
Are you serious?
I think you'd better read the article again.
A simple case of Police officers being instructed in the local dialect. No different than a Spanish-English dictionary.
 

ozgeorge

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Mo the Ethio said:
No different than a Spanish-English dictionary.
Oh, I think there's a slight difference between this pamphlet and a spanish-english dictionary produced professionally. According to the pamphlet, one "translation" is:

Ebonic: "hoodrat"
English translation: "scummy girl"





 

DerekMK

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Oh, I think there's a slight difference between this pamphlet and a spanish-english dictionary produced professionally
Even professionally published dictionaries contain vulgar words and phrases.  The Serbian-English dictionary I use most often for class has over six pages devoted to a verb and its related words (je**** ).  Granted there are more culturally sensitive ways of going about this.  For instance the better literature in AAVE could be used as an introduction (Their Eyes Were Watching God et al.).  At least they are making an attempt to understand AAVE.  And of course the reality of police work is that the most vulgar terms are what they need to know. 
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Νεκτάριος said:
And of course the reality of police work is that the most vulgar terms are what they need to know. 
Personally, I think the author of the booklet should get a raise and a promotion. Farmers learn the language of other wild animals so that they can protect their flocks, so why shouldn't the police learn the language of urban wild animals so that they can protect the rest of civilization? If you were a police officer and you encountered a young black male (or female) brandishing a weapon yelling 'Heyba dooba dobba!", I'm pretty sure you too would wanna know what the heck that meant. If you can't speak the language, you're powerless. This officer saw a deficit in system and took it upon himself to fix it. What's that old addage, "Necessity is the mother of invention"... Unfortunately he'll probably loose his job because of a bunch of cowards scared silly of a vile and racist organization calling itself the NAACP! That group has long ago outgrown it's usefullness and should be FORCED to disband and made illegal!
 

Mo the Ethio

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ozgeorge said:
Oh, I think there's a slight difference between this pamphlet and a spanish-english dictionary produced professionally. According to the pamphlet, one "translation" is:

Ebonic: "hoodrat"
English translation: "scummy girl"


Translation can be a tricky thing. ( See Septuagint and K.J`s. ) Perhaps more research is needed.
 

Mo the Ethio

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
Personally, I think the author of the booklet should get a raise and a promotion. Farmers learn the language of other wild animals so that they can protect their flocks, so why shouldn't the police learn the language of urban wild animals so that they can protect the rest of civilization? If you were a police officer and you encountered a young black male (or female) brandishing a weapon yelling 'Heyba dooba dobba!", I'm pretty sure you too would wanna know what the heck that meant. If you can't speak the language, you're powerless. This officer saw a deficit in system and took it upon himself to fix it. What's that old addage, "Necessity is the mother of invention"... Unfortunately he'll probably loose his job because of a bunch of cowards scared silly of a vile and racist organization calling itself the NAACP! That group has long ago outgrown it's usefullness and should be FORCED to disband and made illegal!
  Point very well taken!
 

ozgeorge

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
a young black male (or female) brandishing a weapon yelling 'Heyba dooba dobba!",
"Ebonics" has become a proxy for African Americans, and the most racist stereotypes are being promulgated. Behind people's expressed attitudes to vernacular varieties, there are often deep-seated social and political fears and prejudices about their speakers.
 

PeterTheAleut

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ozgeorge said:
"Ebonics" has become a proxy for African Americans, and the most racist stereotypes are being promulgated. Behind people's expressed attitudes to vernacular varieties, there are often deep-seated social and political fears and prejudices about their speakers.
Very well said, George. :)
 

Mo the Ethio

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ozgeorge said:
"Ebonics" has become a proxy for African Americans, and the most racist stereotypes are being promulgated. Behind people's expressed attitudes to vernacular varieties, there are often deep-seated social and political fears and prejudices about their speakers.

   Perhaps. Does that preclude law enforements`obligation to commuicate effectively with the neighborhoods they are entrusted to protect and serve?
 

DerekMK

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Behind people's expressed attitudes to vernacular varieties, there are often deep-seated social and political fears and prejudices about their speakers.
Well.. thus far only one poster has called the dialect by its proper (and even politically correct) name. 
 

ozgeorge

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Mo the Ethio said:
    Perhaps. Does that preclude law enforements`obligation to commuicate effectively with the neighborhoods they are entrusted to protect and serve?
Absolutely not. But the way to do it is not by producing racist garbage like this pamphlet.
The expressed "concern for information" in this pamphlet reminds me of a publication the current Australian Government produced in Arabic to "assure" Arab-Australians that they are respected citizens- it was written left to right.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Mo the Ethio said:
    Perhaps. Does that preclude law enforements`obligation to commuicate effectively with the neighborhoods they are entrusted to protect and serve?
If the language used for communication, in this case "Ebonics," also conveys underlying racist stereotypes and thereby serves (albeit unintentionally) to inflame interracial tensions, then my answer to your question is YES.  But then, maybe 'precludes' is not as good a word choice as 'supersedes'.
 

ozgeorge

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Νεκτάριος said:
Well.. thus far only one poster has called the dialect by its proper (and even politically correct) name. 
Exactly. They might as well call it "nigger".
"Ebonics" is itself a racist combination of "Ebony" and "Phonetics".
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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ozgeorge said:
"Ebonics" has become a proxy for African Americans, 
No, it's a gutter language used by gutter people. A majority of African Americans speak English and many of them speak out against Ebonics. Like it or not, there's a difference between black people and nigras. Nigras speak ebonics. Black people speak English. But the point of the booklet is so that the police force can understand the majority of people they police. In this case, nigras. Let me illustrate my point here. Let's say someone comes over from Austrailia. If I don't speak Strine, how am I supposed to know what the flip 'Fair Dinkum' and 'Barbie' means?
 

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
No, it's a gutter language used by gutter people. A majority of African Americans speak English and many of them speak out against Ebonics. Like it or not, there's a difference between black people and nigras. Nigras speak ebonics. Black people speak English. But the point of the booklet is so that the police force can understand the majority of people they police. In this case, nigras. Let me illustrate my point here. Let's say someone comes over from Austrailia. If I don't speak Strine, how am I supposed to know what the flip 'Fair Dinkum' and 'Barbie' means?
But would you say that there's a difference between merely understanding what someone else is saying and actually speaking their tongue?  I've been in the military long enough to know what virtually every cuss word means and what people mean when they use it, but that certainly doesn't mean I speak such rotten language.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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PeterTheAleut said:
But would you say that there's a difference between merely understanding what someone else is saying and actually speaking their tongue?  I've been in the military long enough to know what virtually every cuss word means and what people mean when they use it, but that certainly doesn't mean I speak such rotten language.
Of course there's a difference. But the Houston police are dealing with a segment of the population that chooses not to join civilization, instead they choose to act and behave like wild animals ergo the police need to know not only what they're saying but how to speak to them.
 

Ian Lazarus

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A majority of African Americans speak English and many of them speak out against Ebonics.
Ain't never been to the South, have you? ;)

Actually, I'd gather gather the opposite.  My experience here has blacks calling people like Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and others "uncle Toms", and it has nothing to do with their politics, and more due to the fact that they can finish a sentence with out an explicative, the N word or a "yanowa'msayin'?"  Apparently, being black to them  means loud talking, going nuts whenever you're in a bad mood and not careing who's around to hear it, using expicatives as pronouns and adjectives more than the actual words, fighting, stealing, and overall butchery of the english language.  Are they all like that?  No.  Are all races confined to a stereo type, nope (said the Mexican).  But from what I've seen, racism is permissable as long as you're not white.  And that, my brethren, in anyone's culture, is plain wrong.

 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Ian Lazarus said:
Ain't never been to the South, have you? ;)
What does that have to do with anything? Just because I'm a Southerner doesn't mean I'm a racist.

Ian Lazarus said:
and it has nothing to do with their politics, and more due to the fact that they can finish a sentence with out an explicative, the N word or a "yanowa'msayin'?"  Apparently, being black to them  means loud talking, going nuts whenever you're in a bad mood and not careing who's around to hear it, using expicatives as pronouns and adjectives more than the actual words, fighting, stealing, and overall butchery of the english language.  Are they all like that?
No, but the segment that the police often encounter are. And as you've just illustrated, in order for the police to be effective (protecting the rest of us), they need to know how to communicate with all segments of society. In this particular case, it means understanding ebonics and knowing how to speak it. 


 

Ian Lazarus

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What does that have to do with anything? Just because I'm a Southerner doesn't mean I'm a racist.
I too am a southerner.  And I wasn't saying you were one.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Since a certain segment of the population doesn't want to speak English, the police have NO alternative but to learn how to speak they're language to effectively communicate. And in this particular case that language is ebonics. But just because that certain segment happens to be black does not mean that the police are racist. Maybe some are, but you can be sure that many of the blacks are just as racist. How do you expect the police to do their job if they cannot effectively communicate with a large segment of the population?
 

ozgeorge

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
Since a certain segment of the population doesn't want to speak English, the police have NO alternative but to learn how to speak they're language to effectively communicate.
I think you mean "their language". ;)
And that's the whole point. AAVE is not another language. It is English. People who are deaf and mute sign English, they don't sign another "language". "Strine" is similarly a vernacular form of English, just as AAVE is a vernacular form of English. For anyone to call it "another language" or worse,  a "gutter language" shows (A) an ignorance of sociolinguistics, and (B) uses an ethnic criteria (language) to make a social comment about an ethnic group ("gutter language")- hence, it is racism.
 

greekischristian

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From a linguistic perspective Ebonics is certainly an intersting development that is worth taking a close look at; it is a very positive thing from the standpoint of the study of linguistics. Unfortunately, the communites that perpetrate it do a disservice to their children by making it more difficult for them to participate in the professional elements of the larger (and wealthier) society. So from a social perspective, the development of this dialect is a negative thing.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
It's like the use of the N word.  Blacks living in the cities, at least in my city, call themselves that all the time.  Yet if some white guy like me were to call a black the N word, he'd likely get his block knocked off for speaking an insulting racist epithet.
PeterTheAleut, the problem is within ->you<-.  Descendants of captured, tortured, discriminated Ithiopians, who's inheritance is their plight, never say the "N word" that you hear!

Please download and listen to 2Pac (Tupac Shakur) Words of Wisdom on 2PacalypseNow to better understand the difference.

 

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Why is the racist Jibrail Almuhajir allowed to make these posts?
 

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^^I didn't find anything he said racist. Did someone alert the PC police?  ::)
 

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Ebonics?  Who cares on this Forum, unless someone gets the bright idea to introduce an "ebonics" Divine Liturgy?  Stranger things have happened like Fr. Stalling and his RC "temple"  Ugh, first a "polka mass" then a "rapper mass"
 

PeterTheAleut

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Eleos said:
Why is the racist Jibrail Almuhajir allowed to make these posts?
The allegation that someone is a racist is a very serious issue.  If it's true, then the moderators will address the situation properly.  A false charge is nothing but an ad hominem.  In the meantime, let none of us just dismiss Eleos out of hand.

-PeterTheAleut
 

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I went back and read his post. Not any different than what Chris Rock has said about the difference between ghetto blacks and your average everyday black person. So, does that make Chris Rock a racist or does he get a free pass because he is black? I know Jibrail personally and he is nothing what has been charged against him here. In fact it pisses me off, so I'll leave it at that before I say something I shouldn't. It's always about the double standard.... ::)
 

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Nacho said:
I went back and read his post. Not any different than what Chris Rock has said about the difference between ghetto blacks and your average everyday black person. So, does that make Chris Rock a racist or does he get a free pass because he is black? I know Jibrail personally and he is nothing what has been charged against him here. In fact it pisses me off, so I'll leave it at that before I say something I shouldn't. It's always about the double standard.... ::)
Or what about Bill Cosby's comments a couple of years back? If you've forgotten, here's a nice recap. Cosby said essentially that AAVE is an impediment to getting a good job and advancing economically. I teach languages (English and Spanish) and I often say to the kids that like it or not, your ability to write a resume is going to be the difference between getting the interview and not. You may be the best worker in the world, but potential employers' first impressions of you will be based on your spelling and grammar. It's the same with spoken language. It may not be fair, but AAVE is not going to speak well of the person using it. They may be a fine person, good, sincere, and kind--but if their speech is such that people will associate them with drug dealers and thieves, they will not be able to advance in the world unless they use standard English. This is not racism; this is fact. I have seen white people judged the same way for using AAVE. I may have more to say on this later, but right now I, like Nacho, better take some time to cool off.
 

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It may not be fair, but AAVE is not going to speak well of the person using it.
This situation is hardly unique to AAVE.  Almost all non-standard forms are considered lower prestige in most languages.  That is sort of the point and educational system - to teach people the standard literary form of the national language and/or whatever linguae francae they'll need to function in life.  But that is sort of irrelevant to this discussion.  The reality is that no amount education or integration is growing to eradicate a dialect that has been hundreds of years in the making overnight.  For that matter, there is really no need for speakers of AAVE to discontinue using in their private lives.  On the other hand, for a police officer to be familiar with AAVE (and other non-standard forms of English with which s/he may be likely to encounter) can be a very beneficial tool.  And there is a culturally sensitive way to learn it opposed to little pamphlets that may offend.  The real difficulty is learning the non-standard forms of Spanish and languages of other immigrant communities.   
 

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I think it all depends on what you mean by 'learn black English'.

(I refuse to use patronising PC big words like AAVE or Ebonics.)

Of course police need to be up on ever-changing black slang just like dialects of Spanish or however else the people they meet communicate.

That said I agree with the person who said everybody understands standard English.

Putting on a black accent and/or slang seems condescending.

Can't help thinking of 'Sanford and Son' with its white/black cop duo popping in. The running joke was the white cop would try out some piece of then-current black slang and invariably get it wrong with the black cop correcting him. Sometimes the black cop would translate what the white one was saying in standard English.

Some schools are good teaching black and other kids who speak this dialect standard English while at the same time respecting their home dialect. Around the world people unconsciously go back and forth between standard and local speech all the time. It's called code-switching. Now, instead of putting down the dialect, teachers teach kids both standard forms and to consciously code-switch between the two depending on the situation (hanging out on the street corner versus a job interview for example).

P.S. I'm a typical white guy in this: my knowledge of American black slang is both very limited and at least several years behind the times. Sort of like a stereotypical Middle American mom. By the time a word or expression filters down to my vocabulary it's not cool any more.
 

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"means loud talking, going nuts whenever you're in a bad mood and not careing who's around to hear it, using expicatives as pronouns and adjectives more than the actual words, fighting, stealing, and overall butchery of the english language."

That is not the definition of Eubonics but the language of the un-educated and the "street" mentality that is pervasive in the US.  I went with my grand daughters recently to a 7-11 type store and young  white male was outside talking like my quote above with his "homeboys" but when I walked by with my granddaughters who were obviously not "Homeboys" he changed his language began to speak softly but as soon as the girls were in the store he returned to the using expicatives as pronouns and adjectives more than the actual words.  It showed me that it is really more of an act than atrue language.  Likewise I have seen elderly black women dressed for Church with small children who walking by a Black male doing prettymuch the same had the same action---my conclusion is its an act to get attention or be part of a group rather than a true language.

Thomas
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Eleos said:
Why is the racist Jibrail Almuhajir allowed to make these posts?
I'd like to address this allegation, but before I do let me apologize if I hurt or offended you Eleos, or anyone else for that matter.

  So am I a racist? I've been trying to come up with a good explanation of where I'm coming from, and although I'll probably never satisfy all of you, here goes. The simple answer is 'NO', I am not a racist, if you mean 'someone who dislikes any or all races other than their own'. But this answer of 'NO' is too simplistic. I can't speak for any of y'all (though I suspect many feel the same), I know that I do have racist tendencies when it comes to young, urban African-Americans but I think I was clear in separating Educated Black people and blacks who regularly address themselves as niggers. I believe that all of you who have read my threads not only understand the difference, but also understand what I meant. But to further clarify my viewpoint, to be a 'nigger' or 'white trash' is a mentality, a way of thinking. I know many white folks who live well below the poverty level and live in trailers but who have never fit the description of 'white trash'. On the converse side, one can be a millionaire and still be 'white trash' (Kid Rock and Rosanne Bar come to mind). I know black youths who wear gold chains and listen to hip-hop who are not niggers. These terms have nothing to do with race or socio-economic positions.
I have many times kissed the icon of St. Moses the Ethiopian with no reservations at all. And in a small town not far from where I live, there is a black OCA priest whom I would have no reservations addressing as Father and kissing his hand, even around my co-workers (many of whom ARE racists). As an Orthodox Christian, I don't simply believe, but know, that all people regardless of color, are made in the image of God. 

Regarding my personal views on race, I hope this clears things up a bit. Regarding my views on the booklet, well, sorry, no change there.
 
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