[Imc-chicago] Sarah Palin and the New White Ebonics
andrew.spncr at gmail.com
Fri Oct 10 15:54:53 PDT 2008
> Sarah Palin and the New White Ebonics<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-hanft/sarah-palin-and-the-new-w_b_132199.html> by
> Adam Hanft
> For a generation, conservative culture warriors have raged at liberals for
> orchestrating the dumbing-down of America. From the new math
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_math>to whole language<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_language>to even affirmative action, they argue, progressives have emasculated our
> educational standards. Through a morally and ethically dangerous relativism,
> the left has destroyed the conventions of our culture on every level.
> Meanwhile, it is the right who has been identified with a rear-guard action
> to defend an America where people speak and reason properly, where language
> doesn't devolve into the lowest common denominator, where phrases born in
> rap culture, like "shout out <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shout-out>"
> don't find their way into a vice-presidential debate.
> So let's play a thought game. Imagine if a folksy, inexperienced black
> woman was nominated to be vice president on the Democratic ticket. And
> imagine that instead of coming from Alaska she came from Alabama, and
> instead of dropping white aw-shucksisms like "Doggone" and "You betcha" into
> her conversation, she used the equivalent black vernacular.
> Imagine, as well, if her sentences didn't come close to parsing, if they
> were wickedly ungrammatical -- no, anti-grammatical -- clouds of
> disconnected thoughts and sound bites. The right would rise up in
> indignation and disgust, and the most vitriolic, the Rush Limbaughs, the
> Michael Savages, would decry the presence of Ebonics on the national stage.
> Were she black, Sarah Palin's performance would have been skewered by the
> right as undignified and demeaning to the office she seeks. But because she
> is a culture warrior in heels, she is hailed by the right as a breath of
> populist fresh air, and her use of what conservatives once sniffed at as
> "substandard English" is celebrated as a signifier of her glorious
> There was a time when you could be a progressive and still respect American
> conservatives, at least from a Burkean
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Burke>perspective. On one hand,
> intellectual champions like Buckley offered a worthy opposition and
> admirable erudition. And on the other hand, the left's willingness to become
> identified with an ideology that sought to warehouse spelling, long
> division, and Tolstoy, was dumb.
> But with their combination of anti-intellectualism and over-injection of
> religion into the public sphere, as reified by the Governor of Alaska, the
> conservative movement has abandoned any claim on our intelligence. You
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