Why White People Grammar Policing Black People is Racist
Racism is pervasive. It is in the systems, structures, rules, languages, expectations, and guidelines that make up our classes, school, and society.(Gullo, 2017)
In America, white people have a problematic history of grammar policing. This is because they force-fed the English language into Black and Indigenous people through violent, oppressive means. Black Americans using English is a testament to white colonists’ cruelty. They forced them to abandon their original African dialects. White people's grammar policing Black people is fundamentally racist, mainly because this dynamic assumes white intellectual superiority. This practice is more than tone-deaf; it’s dehumanizing.
It all started with America’s original sin — slavery. White people wanted to maintain control. And they knew good and well that if Black people could freely organize and communicate, they would not stay enslaved for long. White colonists never wanted to read about what life was like for Black people, which included the horrors of slavery and racism.
During the Antebellum South, anti-literacy laws made it illegal for Black people to read or write. These laws helped codify stereotypes about Black people for generations, namely that they were inherently lazy or dumb. White colonists used their power to block access to educational resources and then mocked Black people as if they were intellectually inferior. In many cases, they started to believe the hype. However, Black literacy has always been a fly in the punchbowl for white supremacists because it undermines the racist stereotypes they created.
Anti-literacy laws were a major strategy used by southern plantation owners to dehumanize and control the enslaved Black population. (Literacy and Anti-Literacy Laws)
In modern American society, Black people still bear the brunt of unwarranted ridicule in educational and professional settings for using African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Many code-switch, trying to escape the discrimination associated with Black self-expression. Too often, “sounding intelligent” means speaking standard English proficiently. White people have invested so much…