Untapped Resources: "Styling" in Black Students' Writing for Black Audiences
African Americans are heirs to a rich rhetorical tradition, a tradition rooted in the cultures of Africa and cultivated in the streets and churches of Black America (see Abrahams, 1976; Asante, 1987; Laoov, 1972; Smitherman, 1977). It is mainly an oral tradition, consisting of such verbal arts as talk-singing, punning, rhyming, and image making. Asante has called these rhetorical strategies "styling," "the conscious or unconscious manipulation of language or mannerisms to influence favorably the hearers of a message" (p. 39). This chapter explores one dimension of styling: the use of African-American rhetorical devices in writing.