This quote from former first lady Michelle Obama should encourage and inspire all of those parents who continue to insist that their children should speak and write correctly. It should also belie that ignorant misconception that children of color should be allowed to speak and write in their own dialects instead of being taught how to communicate according to the conventions of English grammar.
"“Our parents had drilled us under the importance of using proper diction, of saying “going” instead of “goin” and “isn’t” instead of “ain’t “. We were taught to finish off words. They bought us a dictionary and a full Encyclopedia Britannica set, which lived on a shelf in the stairwell to our apartment, its titles etched in gold. Any time we had a question about a word, or a concept, or some piece of history, they directed us toward those books. Dandy, too, was an influence, meticulously correcting our grammar and admonishing us to enunciate our words when we went over for dinner. The idea was we were to transcend, to get ourselves further. They’d planned for it. They encouraged it. We were expected not just to be smart but to own our smartness – to inhabit it with pride – and this filtered down to how we spoke.”
To this I say Amen!
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Rev. Vieira is a former high school master teacher, and the founder and president of ScholarSkills Learning Center.