For those of us who pay attention to such things, over the past several years we’ve seen a noticeable decline in the proper use of the English language in our culture. What once would have been considered embarrassing grammatical errors within online news articles are now commonplace; so much so, we can only conclude that publishers either don’t care about quality or were stoned during most of their high school English classes.
The phenomenon, unfortunately, isn’t limited to online news. Online retailers seem incapable of, or indifferent to, punctuation. Basic sentence structure and syntax appear to elude television producers responsible for chyrons and text boxes. And if we spend only a few minutes perusing social media posts, it becomes clear that a significant portion of our population doesn’t understand the difference between their, there, and they’re. Anyone who was educated in a Catholic school can hear a nun in the back of their head tut-tutting and lamenting the decay of our educational standards. But if you think the state of affairs with the English language in America is bad now, just wait… there about to get allot worser.
In an effort to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of The Woke, many of our institutes of higher learning have decided to either minimize or disregard the importance of grammar and spelling. The University of Nebraska proudly declares that they “advocate for writers from historically marginalized or oppressed groups and for writing that counters traditional accounts of ‘standard’ academic English by extending conceptions of audience, purpose, and meaning.” A well-written and articulate statement that translates as, “we will no longer require well-written and articulate writings from students if we like the color of their skin.”
Not to be outdone, Rutgers University’s English Department has declared, “writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage;” a statement even more eloquent than its counterpart from Nebraska, but equally absurd.
Such idiocy isn’t limited to the Big Ten Conference, unfortunately, with examples readily available across the fruited plain. Consider, for instance, the University of California San Diego which explains ”We understand that language is political and that silence is complicity.” No professors, language is not political. Sorry, but no. Language is simply a system of communication; a tool. Language can be used to make political statements, but language – any language – is merely an instrument for conveying thoughts. The only ones who believe language itself is political are sheltered, self-admiring loafers from academia who do nothing but smoke dandelions, wonder if rocks are happy or sad, and view every aspect of our society through the prism of race.
It’s unclear, exactly, which specific grammatical standards are being ignored; and practices likely vary by institution. This approach is a major mistake, and one which we must hope doesn’t spread. One of the most damaging byproducts of the current culture war plaguing our country is the dramatic decrease in commonalities that bind us. With sports that once united us, millions of Americans have instead divorced themselves from the NFL and NBA due to those leagues’ radical shifts toward leftism and their willingness to weigh-in on anything remotely political. Millions more are now giving up on Major League Baseball. Our military has become hyper-politicized, and so has entertainment options such as movies, TV shows, and virtually all genres of music.
But at least we still have our language: English. Yes, we have different accents, and different parts of the country have distinctive idioms and idiosyncrasies, but most Americans speak English. And those who aren’t fluid in English usually strive to learn it, despite the best efforts of the left to compel them to do otherwise.
English is omnipresent in America, and lingual features such as spelling and grammar have been equally universal. How words are spelled has been non-debatable, precise, and critical to ensuring we communicate our thoughts properly. Structuring sentences accurately by including a predicate and subject in each, and by positioning adverbs and adjectives appropriately, allows each of us to understand one another even though we may simultaneously display our uniqueness. But what happens now? Are we going to have different sets of rules based on the color of our skin? Are we going to have no rules for one group, and stringent rules for another?
It would be one thing if this effort was aimed at the finer points of our language. For instance, ending a sentence with a preposition (which, incidentally, is something up with which none of us should put) may be a literary faux pas, but such infractions aren’t particularly concerning. With these recent efforts by leftists in academia, however, there appears to be neither standardization nor objectivity. Applying such policies will be left, no doubt, to the whims of individual professors; leaving students confused and less-educated, regardless of their melanin levels.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this attempted rewriting of linguistic imperatives is the bigotry. Rather than correcting students on improper word usage, we’re now going to nod in agreement if those students are from a race we consider to be victimized. Why? Does the left believe black students are incapable of properly conjugating verbs simply because they are black? Are Hispanic students inherently inept at correctly placing adjectives?
The ideology that gave us participation trophies has now graduated to lecturing us about “black linguistic justice.” The geniuses who insist that the “gender identity” of a baby is unknowable are now seeking to abolish “White Mainstream English.” And the gang which argues that defunding police departments will somehow improve the lives of those they’re trying to help have graduated to preaching about “a climate of racialized inferiority toward Black Language.”
All of these efforts are being undertaken in the name of anti-racism when in reality they are the epitome of true racism. Lowering the bar for students based on their skin color while endeavoring to improve their communication skills is not helping them. We have a language, a common language, and that language is neither a Black Language nor a White Language nor a Brown Language. It’s the English language. Instruct all students on the correct usage of that language, regardless of their race, and stop your silly virtue signaling and identity politics.
P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at TheBlueStateConservative.com. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on Parler @PFWhalen.