“Black English” is one of the sections in a required education class, “Teacher, School and Society,” at University of North Carolina at Wilmington, writes Mike Adams, a UNC professor of criminology. Education Professor Maurice Martinez teaches future teachers to “understand the language spoken by African American children.”
For example, Maurice teaches his students that while whites use terms like “This, that, them, these, and those” blacks often say “Dis, dat, dem, dese, and dose.”
. . . Of course, if a white teacher is going to teach black kids, she needs to learn how to curse like they do. Here, Professor Martinez is brilliant. He informs us that while whites use the terms “mother” and “brother,” blacks often prefer to say “muvah” and “bruvah.” Maurice even gives a sample sentence: “My muvah cook grits.” But he cautions that when using profanity in conjunction with the “F-word” it is best to pronounce “mother” properly.
Black students may say “liberry” instead of “library,” Martinez advises would-be teachers. Asked if they’ve done their homework, they may respond, “Teacher, I been done did dat.”
After sending their kids to study education at UNC-Wilmington, many parents may decide they want their tuition money back. Thankfully, Maurice teaches 18 ways to say “money” in Black English: Book, bread, cake, cash, cheddar, cheese, chump change, coins, crumbs, dough, eagle, fitty, green, jingle, loot, moola, scrilla, and Benjamin.
I recommend that parents, black or white, call UNC-Wilmington and say “I want my chump back, ‘cause Professor Martinez is whack!” Or, to make it less personal, they could say “I want my scrilla, ‘fo rilla!”
If a new teacher doesn’t understand her students’ slang — which changes quickly and varies from place to place — she can ask her colleagues to explain. I can’t imagine it takes a whole semester to figure it out. Surely, she should speak standard English herself to give students a model of the language they’ll need to use if they hope to be educated and employed in the future.