Ebonics (African American English) and Education

Ebonics is a popularized term coined by an African American social psychologist, Dr. Robert Williams, in 1973. The term blends the words ebony and phonics to describe “black sounds” and what was referred to as Black English. Most linguists tend to prefer the terms African American vernacular English (AAVE) or African American English (AAE) to describe the linguistic expression and speech practices of some North American slave descendents, while avoiding the highly stigmatized and sometimes pejorative term Ebonics.

The notoriety of Ebonics rose to national and international prominence in the mid-1990s, with Oakland (California) Unified School District's proclamation regarding Ebonics and changes in pedagogical practices for the instruction of 53 percent of the district's students who were African American. In the decades following the Ebonics controversy, ...

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