In James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” illustrates how language is not just used for communication but it can also be used to classify someone from a different background or race. For instance, Baldwin states, “Language, incontestably, reveals the speaker” (1). Baldwin is trying to say that as soon as someone says something, the listener is already making an assumption about the speaker’s race, ethnicity, etc. In addition, he states, “A language comes into existence by means of brutal necessity, and the rules of the language are dictated by what the language must convey” (2). Black English came as a means for African Americans to understand each other during their times of prejudice. To add on, he states, “There was a moment, in time, and in this place, when my brother, or my mother, or my father, or my sister, had to convey to me, for example, the danger in which I was standing from the white man standing just behind me, and to convey this with a speed, and in a language, that the white man could not possibly understand, and that, indeed, he cannot understand, until today”(2). Black English was used amongst African American’s and only them.
One thing I found interesting was “It may very well be that both the child, and his elder, have concluded that they have nothing whatever to learn from the people of a country that has managed to learn so little” (3). My interpretation of this quote is that Black English does not seem very interesting to the people of America as they seem to think it is appropriate in an academic setting,