Hooked on Ebonics: the controversy that swirls around this “language”

I was shocked to recently learn about the Oakland, California school board’s 1996 decision to classify Ebonics as the official language of its African American students. At the mere age of four, I was ignorant to the political and social controversy this decision stirred up nationwide. Now, at 19, I can understand the problematic implications such a decision leads to.

Report: Nearly All Arrested NYC Students Are Black or Hispanic

According to a recent report, an average of 1 New York City student is arrested per day. Of those arrested students, 88% are male, and 96 % are either Black or Hispanic!

From the New York Daily News:

“The numbers, released to comply with a new city law, only cover July 1 to Sept. 30 — two-thirds of which was summer school.

Cops arrested 63 students — about one a day in 50 days of classes — and issued 182 summons to students — three a day for offenses ranging from robbery to riding a bike on the sidewalk.

Of the arrests, 68% of the students were black and 25% were Latino.”

Obviously, these findings are outrageous, and point to the likelihood that NYC schools are over-policed, and that NYC public school students are victims of widespread racial profiling.

Free Lunch Program Surge Reflects Economic Distress

According to a recent New York Times article, Free Lunch Programs are swelling with new participants nationwide, indicating rising levels of poverty and economic distress across the country.

Millions of Americans are utlizing these programs for the first time, after losing jobs or settling for under-paying positions.

The number of students receiving subsidized lunches has risen 17% since 2006-2007.

From the New York Times:

“‘These are very large increases and a direct reflection of the hardships American families are facing,’ said Benjamin Senauer, a University of Minnesota economist who studies the meals program, adding that the surge had happened so quickly ‘that people like myself who do research are struggling to keep up with it.’

Bronx Students Release 10-Point List of Demands to Reform NY Public Education

Dubbing themselves The Resistance, a group of Bronx students have decided to “Occupy” public education, releasing a 10 point plan for reforming New York City’s public school system.

This is exactly the kind of action we need to see across this country; young people seizing the moment and taking the lead in public discourse regarding the issues that are impacting their lives.

Some of their demands include “a healthy, safe environment that does not expect our failure or anticipate our criminality,” class sizes that are “humane and productive,” and “student assessments and evaluations that reflect the variety of ways that we learn and think.”

AMEN! Check out a video of members of the Resistance introducing their reforms,  as well as text of their full ten-point plan, below.


From Colorlines.com:

Brooklyn HS Makes 634 Students Use ONE TOILET!

According to the New York Daily News, 634 students at a Brooklyn, NY high school were forced to use ONE TOILET for six months!

Due to repeated disciplinary incidents in the school’s bathroom, all but one toilet in the entire school was made available for students.

Long lines and unsanitary conditions outside of the bathroom became the norm, resulting in many students choosing to drink less, or simply “hold it” rather than deal with the disgusting  facilities and miss an inordinate amount of class time.

Some students started a petition that generated media attention, prompting the school to make a few more restrooms available.

Obviously, kids misbehaving in the bathroom is a serious issue. But forcing 634 students to use one restroom?

You think they’d have done that to 634 white students?

Sound off below!

From the New York Daily News:

Follow Up to Chapter’s EBT Video: Why Single Black Women Have Babies


As a follow-up to The Viral Video, EBT: We Have Failed You Chapter…An Open Letter, I want to talk about a comment that I received frequently about Chapter’s character in the EBT video. Many people have emailed me saying that they agree with my blog, but that they also know black women who do those things. Those things . . . as if those things that they do are so vile that the actual act must not be named for fear of its appearance. Those things. What types of those things? Getting pregnant in order to qualify for general assistance?

It has been my experience as a mentor that when a young woman tells me she wants to have a baby it is because she wants someone—the baby or her boyfriend—to love her, and, of course, this rationale comes with its own set of consequences. But, my young mentee’s rationale is not far removed from why some single privileged or married privileged women decide to have babies. They too seek love or at least commitment from the men in their lives. The difference between my mentee and the privileged women is that their class privilege absolves them of blame.

I say all this to say that perhaps the reason why young women decide to have babies is not to “swindle” the government, but to secure that which all women are taught to desire in this society, what bell hooks refer to as the “male gaze.” And, the male gaze includes having the man’s baby or performing your feminine gender of being a mother. So, perhaps, the larger issue is not about “those things” single black girls do, but more about who they are doing those things for.

The Old Black Woman says: “Do you got yo big girl’s drawls on? Can you stand a fight?”


I really love this Huggies’ commercial because it shows a little girl professing she’s a big kid because she knows how to wear pull-ups which is the first step toward wearing big girl panties drawls. [Song in the tune of the Huggies’ commercial] So, she’s a big girl now.

At this very moment, I am in the process of learning all that I can about Michelle Rhee who is the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C. For better or for worse, she is a woman who knows how to wear big girl panties drawls. Not only does she know how to wear them, but she seems to keep a variety of them—red, purple, cerulean, and verdant—nearby just in case she has to do a quick last minute improvisation in order to get school wide consensus for her performance based teacher pay policies.