Dialogue on Writing: Rethinking ESL, Basic Writing, and First-Year Composition

By Geraldine Deluca; Len Fox et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
From “Let's Flip the Script:
An African American
Discourse on Language,
Literature, and Learning”
Keith Gilyard

Keith Gilyard is Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and former head of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. His books include the educational memoir, Voices of the Self, for which he received an American Book Award. He has also published in such journals as College English, College Composition and Communication, and the Journal of Basic Writing. The following article is from Let's Flip the Script: An African American Discourse on Language, Literature, and Learning, Wayne State University Press, 1996.


ONE MORE TIME FOR PROFESSOR NURUDDIN

Yusuf Nuruddin, MY BROTHER. Surely the best arrangement is for me to be there at Medgar Evers College to visit your Black Studies courses. But now that I live two hundred fifty miles from Brooklyn, that option is no longer convenient. So, as per your request, I have sent what you need to do justice to the language unit in your classes. I hope you'll appreciate that I treat African American and Caribbean varieties of English together. You may catch some flak for this. As you know, you teach at the college with the largest concentration in the country of Caribbean students with African bloodlines, many of whom insist upon a cultural distinction in every detail between themselves and African Americans. On the other hand, as you are also well aware, African American students on campus haven't always welcomed their Caribbean schoolmates warmly. So expect some tension. But hold your ground, for this is the way to go. And perhaps this current crop is much hipper anyway, past all that jingoism.

My examples of linguistic features are purposely restricted to the sentence level. I feel you can talk well enough about discourse features such as

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