Google+

What the Word Be: Why Black English Is the King’s (James) English

41wf7k8MI-LWhat the Word Be:

Why Black English Is the King’s (James) English

by Diane Proctor Reeder

Written Images

Paperback, $19.95

200 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4951-0505-0

 

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Blacks came to the U.S. chained to each other but from different tribes. Neither could speak the other’s language. If two black people, at that bitter hour of the world’s history, had been able to speak to each other, the institution of chattel slavery could never have lasted as long as it did.

Subsequently, the slave was given, under the eye, and the gun, of his master… the Bible… and under these conditions the slave began the formation of… black English.”

n      James Baldwin as excerpted in the Introduction (pages xiii-xiv) from

his article “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is?”

 

 

When most people talk about the “King’s English,” they’re referring to a very proper, aristocratic way of speaking in terms of grammar and syntax. That style is far afield from the uniquely African-American phraseology also known as Ebonics.

In fact, the pros and cons of teaching black English has been the subject of debate in recent years, with detractors arguing that it has no place either in the classroom or in polite society. Those naysayers might rethink that position after perusing What the Word Be: Why Black English Is the King’s (James) English.

For, according to its author, Diane Proctor Reeder, the roots of Ebonics can readily be found in the King James Bible, the text employed by most slave masters to teach Africans English. To prove her point, Ms. Reeder simply quotes from scripture, such as “Surely the people is grass,” which is found in Isaiah 40:7.

The playwright/editor/businesswoman came up with the idea for her opus after scouring the Good Book front to back several times and finding over 1,500 verses written in black English. Here, she carefully cites hundreds of those examples from both the Old and New Testament, including Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Job, Deuteronomy, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Who knew that the Bible is riddled with such supposed mistakes as unmarked past and present tenses, subject-verb disagreements, double subjects, bizarre uses of the verb “to be,” pronoun insertions and absence of the copula? Nevertheless, to this sister, there’s a method to the madness, and what academics might denigrate as nails on the blackboard ghetto parlance may now more accurately be appreciated as a God-ordained vestige of slavery worth preserving.           Reeder’s persuasive conclusion? “We learned how to speak the way we do because our ancestors learned to read with the King James Bible as their primary text.” You be feelin’ her?

To order a copy of What the Word Be, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1495105059/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20



Entertainment

Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale Co-Star in WWI Docudrama

  The Promise DVD Review by Kam Williams Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale Co-Star in WWI Docudrama It's Eastern Turkey in 1914, which is where we find druggist Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) plying his trade in his half-Armenian/half-Turkish village where Christians and Muslims get along swell. The ambitious, young apothecary would really … [Read More its Good For You...]

Books

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of. I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is […]

Real Estate

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   The term ‘meteoric rise’ usually applies to something fun. Think: A Hollywood actor who has been ‘discovered.’) Unfortunately, when it comes to this article, ‘meteoric rise’ is something that will not bring a smile to one’s face. To put it simply, if you wish to … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Healthy Living: The Cellphone Guide

  Healthy Living: The Cellphone Guide by Amy Lignor   Much like the political realm, there will always be debates and disagreements when it comes to the technological realm—especially when it comes to your health versus the almighty cellphone. Now, it is a fact that communication in the 21st century literally brought about a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Choosing Binoculars for the Ultimate 2017 Hunt

  Choosing Binoculars for the Ultimate 2017 Hunt   Any hunter will tell you the most important choices to make when going for that ultimate successful hunt comes from the little things. Yes, the guns, the location for the hunt, the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Esports on a Meteoric Rise in 2017

  Esports on a Meteoric Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   Okay…we all know that football is America’s favorite sport. Or…is it? NASCAR has a wide following. People still love to go to the ballpark in the lazy summer days to watch a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Is Social Media Still Growing?

  Is Social Media Still Growing? by Amy Lignor   It was in 1999, Bill Gates wrote a book titled, “Business @ the Speed of Thought.” Within these pages, the man who became the computer world’s wizard made massively bold predictions … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too!

  Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too! by Amy Lignor   Most children (and adults, too) will either roll their eyes or sigh when, while speaking about vacation locations, the word “learning” just happens to be mentioned. Yes, it … [Read More its Good for You...]