Academic journal article Perspectives in Psychiatric Care

Ebonics and Psychotherapy

Academic journal article Perspectives in Psychiatric Care

Ebonics and Psychotherapy

Article excerpt

We've all heard a lot about ebonics lately, and the controversy over whether "black English" should be taught in inner city schools. When the Oakland, CA., school system announced a plan to do this, there was outrage from the political right and left. Wishing to eschew diversity, the political right maintained that all children should be taught conventional English, just as immigrants are. The liberal left believed it was insulting to black children to say, "You aren't capable of fitting into the mainstream; we'll keep you a minority by keeping your speech different. "

Ultimately, members of the Oakland Board of Education modified their position. First, they discarded their earlier assertions that ebonics is genetically based. (Is there any behavior left that has not been attributed to genetics?) Second, they voted against teaching ebonics. Instead, they will recognize it as a linguistic pattern with African roots but will gradually steer students toward conventional English. This viewpoint is considered more enlightened than simply viewing ebonics as "bad English."

How does all this relate to psychotherapy? just as children use ebonics to communicate their thoughts and feelings, so do our patients communicate through symptoms such as anxiety, fear, phobias, obsessions, compulsions, depression, delusions, hallucinations, and physical symptoms. We must take these "different" forms of communication, attempt to understand them, and in turn help our patients gradually translate them into conventional language. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.