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sick day post - june jordan

amanda.simone's picture

I'm disapointed that I missed out on the discussion of June Jordan's "Nobody Mean More to Me Than You And the Future Life of Willie Jordan" this afternoon and I hope it was interesting.

One of the things I was thinking about after reading her piece was the incredible importance of professors of color. Jordan identified the lack of any academic class on Black English, saying, "as far as I knew, no one anywhere in the United States, had ever offered such a course." And then she went ahead and filled that gap, creating a college course to address, analyze, and teach Black English literacy. She was able to provide this education in a way that a white professor never could/should. Thus, the lack of professors of color directly means that there are limits to the education one can recieve at an academic institution. I really enjoyed reading about how Jordan collaboratively built and led "The Art of Black English" course with and for her students of color.

Another aspect of the article I highlighted for discussion was the notion of white people having the power and priviledge to determine the value of AAVE and black culture in general. Jordan touches on this in relation to how The Color Purple was recieved by white audiences vs her students: "Here was a negative Black reaction to a prize winning accomplishment of Black literature that White readers across the country had selected as a Best Seller." White people celebrated and revered the language Alice Walker used, but others, like Jordan's students, didn't have the same reaction. White people all too often get to celebrate, enjoy, and benefit from the very aspects of other cultures that they look down upon and criminalize.