At a time when the media has branded Ebonics "a second class language for a second-class life" and worse, a time when politicians have sought to legislate standard English as the only official language in an increasingly linguistically diverse United States, the link between the power of a single language and the power of those who determine its dominance should come as no surprise. Those who, like columnist Ellen Goodman, oppose recognizing Ebonics as a separate language hark back to the melting pot era in which the children of immigrants were "Americanized" in the public schools because "there was ... a commitment — however ruthless — to integration, to preparing children to enter the new world." Learning, speaking, reading and writing the "official" language — standard English — was and still is seen as the only way children can "travel a wider world," a world in which they cannot speak their "mother's tongue."


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