Monday, July 7, 2008

Don't "Aks", Don't tell

Freakonomics is one of my favorite books, and lucky for me (and the world), Levitt and Dubner have continued their analyses of the culture on the NYTimes opinion page. They have a very interesting post regarding a U of Chicago study that examined whether sounding black (or Southern) influences one's salary. The study found that people who sounded black, as judged over the phone, earned 10% less than those who sounded white. Blacks who "sounded white" earned roughly the same amount as their white counterparts.

This is very interesting, as it provides ongoing evidence of racial discrimination in the U.S. This is unacceptable. However, while I do not condone any racial discrimination, common sense also tells us that speaking "ebonics" is not exactly compatible with a highly productive business/sales model. Furthermore, only the minority of blacks actually speak ebonics, but it only takes a few bad eggs to ruin it for the larger group and promote long-lasting stereotypes. Simply put, slang will never be widely accepted, and PARENTS and the school systems must do their best to teach children proper English. Bill Cosby had an excellent rant about this a few years ago. I agree with Bill.

We are on the precipice of potentially electing a black president of the United States for the first time. Many racial barriers in this country have been obliterated. Thus, it is not too much to ask our future generations, of any racial background, to speak English properly.

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