Post 2: Should Writers Use They Own English? My reflection post-discussion:

After discussing Young’s article today, I felt that it was necessary to expand on my ideas from Post 1. I previously mentioned my initial perceptions of the article and talked about Gerald Graff’s quote that provided both comforting and inspiring advice. It read, “say it in the technical way, the college-speak way, but also say it the way you say it to yo momma — in the same paper”. I’d like to take the time to expand on my ideas surrounding this quote.

Despite the negative aspects of Standard Language Ideology, such as how it was built on systemic racism which suppresses the voices of minorities, it is an essential tool. A standard language provides a common form of communication for all, no matter where you come from. With a baseline from which all understanding of language stems, people have the ability to communicate with anyone else through their writing. In fact, this exposes the problem in accepting or rejecting Standard Language Ideology. The former allows people of all backgrounds to effectively communicate while, due to its nature, suppresses the voices of minorities. And, while the latter eliminates the racism, it also eliminates the ability to share ideas and spread information across cultures and borders. As such, it cannot be rejected altogether, rather it must be adjusted.

We now see the significance of Graff’s quote. It is important to express ideas in both formal (standard language) and informal (based on your background and upbringing) writing styles. This should not be mistaken for supporting Standard Language Ideology. I believe in order to break away from the prejudice, racism, status quo, etc. that is perpetuated through this, we need to be “bilingual”. We must use our own voices to share ideas, write the way we talk and use standard language only to ensure others understand what we are saying. It is a tool for clarification, not for marginalizing part of the population. It is a tool for sharing and collaborating, not for suppressing and diminishing voices. It is a tool, an aide that performs a particular function and nothing more.