chapter  5
18 Pages

Why does “Bad English” still exist?

WithElizabeth Peterson

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For many people, access to standard language culture is off limits or at least elusive, for reasons ranging from the physical and tangible to the ideological and emotional. For many Americans of, for example, European descent, there is the luxury of being able to trace their ancestors back to a location in Europe, sometimes even to a particular farm or town. These ties to Europe contribute to the identity of many Americans, nearly one hundred years after New York’s Ellis Island, where some 40 percent of Americans’ ancestors were processed, ceased its immigration functions in 1924. A United States census map from the current day shows that, even more than 150 years after the Civil War, the majority of African American people live in the southern United States. The cycle of disadvantage is a reality at odds with some of the most fundamental ideologies of many Americans.