Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 19:36:28 -0400


Subject: Re: The Lords Prayer/Ebonics

I know we had a lot of discussion about the purveying of racist jokes

(and other kinds) in the wake of the Ebonics controversy. I too

think that simply passing them along as "interesting" condones them or

lends the mantle of "scientific interest" to behavior that I am sure

most people on the list do not tolerate in person, and I would like to

second Sali's indignation -- regardless of the motives behind the act.

I am chiming in because there IS a way to address the topic

usefully as linguists, and that is by considering the materials cited

in the light of language ideology research. Maggie Ronkin and Helen

Karn, students here at Georgetown's program, will be presenting a

paper on this topic at aDS in NYC, likening "Mock Ebonics" to Jane

Hill's work on "Junk Spanish" as a system of strategies for

representing racist stereotypes. Since I don't want to seem to take

credit for the ideas, which are Maggie and Helen's own, I won't

summarize them here, but Maggie is on the list and I'm sure wo0uldn't

mind if interested people contacted her on the topic at


I recommend the talk to all, having heard an early version of it in my

AAVE seminar a few weeks ago.

--peter patrick