TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT March 1997

AFTER WORDS

Ebonics

[Gary Dauphin]: So Black English is for secret stuff?

Reesie: It’s not secret secret. But it’s private.

—“Schoolyard Sages: New York City School Kids Weigh In on Ebonics,” The Village Voice

RETURNING THIS WINTER to Chicago from Bombay with the sweet singsong of my native Bombay Bazaar English still sounding in my ears, I’m confronted with the latest American cultural brouhaha—the Ebonic plague. Like my friend and quasi-compatriot Mr. Rushdie, I am now quite convinced that writing about something can actually make it happen—to you. So there I am, Ms. Respected Reader, Dear Madam, as we are politely saying always in Bombay. So I’m trying too too hard to speak without mistake, sounding totally like polite, proper BBC English, not yankee crude, “ya” this, “gonna” that, always opening bigmouth and talking through nose. No, I’m trying for pure Westminster-Oxford-Waterloo English when I’m dispatched

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 1997 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.