Definition of termsDefine the following terms in one or two sentences each: Jim Crow

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megan-bright's profile pic

megan-bright | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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I think that the media's negative spin on Ebonics was rather unfair and played a huge role in why the word is considered offensive. I think that with proper research people would have realized that there is some merit to the term. Perhaps also the Oakland School Board could have approached things differently. And perhaps the term itself sounds a bit odd, but I'm sure these scholars and linguist had valid intentions when introducing the concepts. Certainly, not all African Americans speak Ebonics, and I think that is where a lot of stereotypes and controversy arose as well.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Isn't it curious how those who think that reading the language of Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare is "outdated" but "ebonics" is modern?  Much of ebonics is archaic English, and some of it is the English of those of the lower classes from Ireland and Scotland,

"I be tinkin' Malcom Macgowan, dat you be a good man."

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Ebonics was coined to provide a positive name for the cultural language used by African Americans. Unfortunately, like many things which have been begun to help people, the term has very negative connotations linked to it.

It was originated by an African American social psychologist, Robert Williams, and a linguist, Ernie Smith, in order to name the language spoken by African Americans.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jim Crow is an excellent example of a system of laws and legislation that, in its genesis, seemed like a good idea at the time in terms of protecting African-Americans and working against discrimination. It is particularly ironic therefore that it came to stand for discrimination and prejudice against African-Americans that was demonstrated through its focus on segregation.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Ebonics is a language system used by African Americans. It is highly controversial. Although most cultural groups have their own dialects, there is some argument over whether or not Ebonics is a legitimate one or just pandering to politics. I happen to live in California, in a community that has many transfers from Oakland. I can understand the need to try to make sense of cultural differences or respect them.
brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Jim Crow also became the overall reference by civil rights advocates and African-Americans to any law that was subjugating and/or segregating.  There was such a myriad of laws and codes that did this in the various states of the Old South, that Jim Crow just became a catchall phrase to refer to them en masse.  It was also often uttered with a good deal of negative connotation.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It's also important to know that these laws were judged to be legal by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.  They were overturned with relation to schools by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Jim Crow laws were instituted in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries primarily to insure segregation in public areas. Although they were meant to protect African Americans and their rights to equality under the law, Jim Crow laws instead created a double-sided system in which separate public facilities--such as schools and restrooms--were usually inferior to the ones used by whites.

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