Try As We May, Some People Are Just Shitty

William Labov wrote “Recognizing Black English in the Classroom,” and helped to create a curriculum for teachers following the Ann Arbor language trials. He gave many quantitative analyses for many examples, features, and patterns and his work specifically focused on the scientific evidence. Unfortunately, the introduction of scientific evidence did not resonate with the Ann Arbor teachers following their court-ordered curriculum. To them despite a national outcry, the judge’s verdict, and scientifically backed material – their ideologies still held true and the new information was of little use to them. This shows that education does not inherently solve the issue of language judgement, since language discrimination has nothing to do with the language itself. The objectivist view fails to address this. We assume that just because people learn the truth, that they will change their biased views. While it can happen, deeply ingrained racist tendencies are not so easily removed.
I want to expand on this in future journal entries, but for now it’s important to understand how the science of language (and science in general) is treated by most in contemporary America. Science is often taken as hearsay in many circles, and it is in part the fault of both the learners and the scientific community. We have a community of learners with access to snippets of media interpretations of various studies with little contextual or citation information accomponing it. There is also an issue with the way American scientific studies are published and accredited compared to other international science and research communities. Studies have been done which show medical and scientific research can be politically motivated to ensure more funding. Other journals have been accused of implicit bias when it comes to studies conducted by specific groups or individuals (women and minorities) or publishing results that either produced unfavorable results or prove another previous publication was false when reproduced. This has led to a society where facts and knowledge are exchanged at high rates, trimmed down, and sometimes full of bad data and conclusions. So when both science is flawed, and ideologies are flawed – how could we ever hope for teachers like those at Ann Arbor to change their mind?

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