White power uses white English as a calculated, political display of power to control and eliminate the powerless. In America, that power belongs to white power. School, compulsory public school education, is the process whereby Black children first encounter the punishing force of this white power. “First grade” equals first contact with the politics of white language, and its incalculably destructive consequences for Black lives. This is what I mean, exactly: both Black and white youngsters are compelled to attend school. Once inside this system, the white child is rewarded for mastery of his standard, white English: the language he learned at his mother’s white and standard knee. But the Black child is punished for mastery of his non-standard, Black English; for the ruling elite of America have decided that non-standard is sub-standard, and even dangerous, and must be eradicated.

June Jordan

"White English: The Politics of Language," 1972

Shiraz Abdullahi Gallab
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