Maximo Martinez, “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”, by James Baldwin

In “If Black English Isn’t a language, Then Tell Me, What is”, by James Baldwin talks about the importance of language. And he goes aheads and says that “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate” (Baldwin 2). Meaning that people create languages depending on their their circumstances and reality. Which leds to groups creating “different languages”, accents, or slangs for the same language, since every group and nation have different experiences. Balwin adds on to this idea on the third paragraph when he talks about places like Quebec, Marseilles and Martinique, and even though they all talk french, “as it turns out, they are not saying, and cannot be saying, the same things”.

He adds on to the importance of language by saying that “language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power”. He talks about how with language you connect (or disconnect) with people, giving you the power to communicate with groups, communities or the public in general. Then he jumps on talking about how back then how dangerous language was since, since it said alot about you. He brings up examples like how back then by revealing your language “You have confessed your parents, your youth, your school, your salary, your self-esteem, and, alas, your future.” (Baldwin 4).

He talks about how the importance of language is related to “Black English” and how it should some how be respected by white people since “Black English is the creation of the black diaspora.” (Baldwin 7). Meaning that the “Black English” was created from black history on America, and attributed to the fact that Blacks had to in part assimilate and create a new language, since they were being brought as slaves from different tribes, and they had to figure out a way for them to understand each other.

But one thing I found “interesting” about this article, was the fact that Baldwin said “The brutal truth is that the bulk of white people in American never had any interest in educating black people, except as this could serve white purposes.” (Baldwin 11). Since even though it is true that alot of white people back then were racist because of the jim crow laws, and civil rights movement, other groups of white people helped on helping for the equality of races in America.

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