An undergraduate researcher at University of Wisconsin–Madison has put forward the proposal that minority groups feel oppressed by English grammar. Erika Gallagher has said that her research is aimed to erase the stigma against Ebonics.
The student has gained national acclaim and her work was chosen to be presented at the Collegiate Conference on Composition and Communication in Portland, Oregon.
As reported by the Daily Caller:
The focus of the junior’s research is a theory called “code switching.” Basically, adherents of “code switching” say that individuals will seek to alter their speech patterns to fit the group of people with which they are communicating.
Members of minority groups feel especially marginalized because of “code switching,” Gallagher’s research found.
To avoid any hurt feelings some people may feel by attempting to speak standard, correct English, Gallagher wants to eradicate the stigma associated with Ebonics — or African–American Vernacular English, a nonstandard dialect of English spoken by some black people.
Gallagher hopes to eventually start a nonprofit group which encourages teachers to allow their students to speak using whatever language makes them most comfortable. “Just because you speak a different way doesn’t mean you’re not smart,” she said.