College teaches American grammar is 'racist'

The University of Washington at Tacoma writing school has found a unique way to make a statement about "social justice."

According to poster displayed in the writing center, American grammar is "racist" and an "unjust language structure."  The center promises to prioritize rhetoric over "grammatical correctness."

Daily Caller:

The poster, written by the director, staff, and tutors of the University of Washington, Tacoma's Writing Center, states "racism is the normal condition of things," declaring that it permeates rules, systems, expectations, in courses, school and society.

"Linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent 'standard' of English," proclaims the writing center's statement. "Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English."

In the introduction to its "commitment" section, the Tacoma Writing Center pledges to "listen and look carefully and compassionately for ways we may unintentionally perpetuate racism or social injustice, actively engaging in antiracist practices" before making nine specific promises to students.

It's true that language is constantly evolving – at least, the common usage of terms and phrases that are the backbone of communication. 

But the purpose of grammatical rules and conventions is to promote exactness in writing.  "Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man," said Francis Bacon.  If you want to write something no one will misunderstand, you must formalize the structure using long agreed upon conventions. 

"[The statement] is a great example of how we are striving to act against racism," said Dr. Jill Purdy, Tacoma's vice chancellor of undergraduate affairs. "Language is the bridge between ideas and action, so how we use words has a lot of influence on what we think and do."

The Tacoma Writing Center's prioritization of social justice over grammar resembles previous concerted efforts to legitimize incorrect speech, such as Ebonics, "inventive spelling," and "whole language." 

The statement by Ms. Purdy is actually spot on.  "How we use words has a lot of influence on what we think and do" is an excellent summation of the necessity and utilitarian aspect of the written word. 

No one is going to understand those ideas unless there is a formalized structure by which the writer and reader are following established, recognizable grammatical rules.  The misuse of tense, for example, could alter the meaning of what the writer is trying to get across.  Is it racist to insist that clarity and exactitude are more important than ill thought out ideas that are incoherently expressed?

I suppose it's the thought that counts.

The University of Washington at Tacoma writing school has found a unique way to make a statement about "social justice."

According to poster displayed in the writing center, American grammar is "racist" and an "unjust language structure."  The center promises to prioritize rhetoric over "grammatical correctness."

Daily Caller:

The poster, written by the director, staff, and tutors of the University of Washington, Tacoma's Writing Center, states "racism is the normal condition of things," declaring that it permeates rules, systems, expectations, in courses, school and society.

"Linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent 'standard' of English," proclaims the writing center's statement. "Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English."

In the introduction to its "commitment" section, the Tacoma Writing Center pledges to "listen and look carefully and compassionately for ways we may unintentionally perpetuate racism or social injustice, actively engaging in antiracist practices" before making nine specific promises to students.

It's true that language is constantly evolving – at least, the common usage of terms and phrases that are the backbone of communication. 

But the purpose of grammatical rules and conventions is to promote exactness in writing.  "Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man," said Francis Bacon.  If you want to write something no one will misunderstand, you must formalize the structure using long agreed upon conventions. 

"[The statement] is a great example of how we are striving to act against racism," said Dr. Jill Purdy, Tacoma's vice chancellor of undergraduate affairs. "Language is the bridge between ideas and action, so how we use words has a lot of influence on what we think and do."

The Tacoma Writing Center's prioritization of social justice over grammar resembles previous concerted efforts to legitimize incorrect speech, such as Ebonics, "inventive spelling," and "whole language." 

The statement by Ms. Purdy is actually spot on.  "How we use words has a lot of influence on what we think and do" is an excellent summation of the necessity and utilitarian aspect of the written word. 

No one is going to understand those ideas unless there is a formalized structure by which the writer and reader are following established, recognizable grammatical rules.  The misuse of tense, for example, could alter the meaning of what the writer is trying to get across.  Is it racist to insist that clarity and exactitude are more important than ill thought out ideas that are incoherently expressed?

I suppose it's the thought that counts.

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