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JAC 16.

2 (1996)
Deena's Story: The Discourse of the Other

Beth Danie !n her recent stu"y of the history of #estern iteracy an" rhetoric$ Jan S%earin&en te s us that "Otherness is not incomprehensible, not a strange
dark continent, except in a poetics, epistemology, and psychology preoccupied with order, coherence, and form defined in narrowly binarist and linear exclusivities" (223) ! "ut preoccupied thus, people in the #est with economic, political, and intellectual power have historically described their own language with such ad$ectives as "rational," "philosophic," "scientific," and "literate" and the discourse of the Other%that is, the language practices of those less powerful%in terms of what it lacks, what it doesn&t or can&t do, how it limits (or reveals the limitations of) its users 'etting up such "narrowly binarist exclusivities" about language persists despite sociolinguistic studies that have demonstrated time and again that what renders the discourse of the Other unacceptable is its identification with the powerlessness of the Other rather than anything inherent in the language itself 2 !n "escri'tions of the "iscourse 'ractices of the Other(a''arent y no )atter %ho the Other ha''ens to *e (a &rou' of co))on sty istic features re&u ar y sho%s u'. A)on& these features$ accor"in& to Susan Jarratt$ are an associati+e or 'aratactic 'rinci' e of or&ani,ation$ oose connections$ fore&roun"e" fi&ures$ a*un"ant 'ersona references$ e)otion$ an" ' ay in -serious- conte.ts (2). These /ua ities a''ear on the "e+a ori,e" si"e of such *inary o''ositions as ora 0 iterate$ fe)a e0)a e$ B ac10#hite. !n this 'a'er ! )e"itate on the 'ur'orte" 'aratactic narrati+e sty e of the )ar&ina i,e" Other *y oo1in& c ose y at the first2&ra"e sharin& ti)e story of a chi " %ho) researcher Sarah 3ichae s ca s Deena. As ! "o so$ ! 'ay attention not on y to race$ &en"er$ c ass$ an" a&e *ut a so to the "ichoto)ous thin1in& that &i+es 'otency to these cate&ories. A so s/uare y in )in" are these %or"s fro) (lice #alker)

4or it is an&ua&e )ore than anythin& e se that re+ea s an" +a i"ates one's e.istence$ an" if the an&ua&e %e actua y s'ea1 is "enie" us$ then it is ine+ita* e that the for) %e are 'er)itte" to assu)e historica y %i *e one of caricature$ ref ectin& so)eone e se's iterary or socia fantasy. (56) The te.t of Deena's story a''ears in -7arrati+e 8resentations: An Ora 8re'aration of 9iteracy %ith 4irst :ra"ers- in Jenny Coo12:u)'er,'s 1966 +o u)e The Socia Construction of 9iteracy. This artic e re'orts on 3ichae s' stu"y of an&ua&e an" iteracy in the )u ti2ethnic Ber1e ey$ Ca ifornia$ schoo s. !n a""ition$ Deena's sharin& ti)e story as %e as others *y *oth her an" other stu"ents a''ears in -The Dis)ant in& of 7arrati+e- in A yssa 3cCa*e an" Caro e 8eterson's 1991 De+e o'in& 7arrati+e Structure$ %here 3ichae s &i+es )ore "etai an" see)s )ore a%are of the 'o itica ra)ifications than in the ear ier 'iece. The na)es of the chi "ren an" of the teacher are$ of course$ 'seu"ony)s. ! ha+e chosen this 'articu ar e.a)' e *ecause in our cu ture Deena is the 'o%er ess Other: she is fe)a e$ B ac1$ youn&$ an" 'oor. As a )i"" e2c ass #hite %o)an$ ! "o not 'resu)e to s'ea1 as an insi"er or as an authority on African2 A)erican "iscourse 'ractices. But as !'+e sai" an" inten" to "iscuss further$ "escri'tions of the an&ua&e of the Other are a)a,in& y si)i ar$ %hether the s'ecific Other is B ac1$ or fe)a e$ or fro) so)e other ethnic or re&iona &rou'. As a %o)an an" as a Southerner$ ! ha+e a 'ersona sta1e in issues of an&ua&e$ i"entity$ an" 'o%er. As a teacher$ ! ho'e that t%enty2fi+e years of o*ser+in& an" thin1in& an" rea"in& a*out issues of an&ua&e in the c assroo) an" e se%here can &i+e )e so)e &roun" fro) %hich to s'ea1. This is not the

first ti)e ! ha+e %ritten a*out an&ua&e issues as they 'ertain to an African2A)erican chi ". Southern &ui t$ 'erha's. At this 'articu ar ti)e$ there's at east one other )oti+e for %ritin& a*out these issues: ! a) "istur*e" *y the si ence that often 're+ai s these "ays %hen issues that touch on race arise. This si ence$ ! *e ie+e$ %i"ens the 'o ari,e" 'ositions that no% see) to *e the nor)$ e+en a)on& aca"e)ics$ an" ! thin1 %e are *etter off ta 1in& to each other than not ta 1in& at a . 3ichae s$ a on& %ith other researchers into the an&ua&e 'ractices of African2A)ericans$ i"entifies the 'aratactic narrati+e sty e %ith race. !n these conte.ts it is co))on y ca e" the associati+e sty e$ or$ )ore s'ecifica y$ the to'ic2associatin& sty e to set it a'art fro) the to'ic2centere" sty e of #hite an&ua&e. :ene+a S)ither)an "escri*es the to'ic2associatin& narrati+e sty e in Ta 1in an" Testifyin: This )ean"erin& a%ay fro) the -'oint- ta1es the istener on e'iso"ic ;ourneys an" o+er tri*utary rhetorica routes$ *ut i1e the f o% of nature's ri+ers an" strea)s$ it a e+entua y ea"s *ac1 to the source. Thou&h hi&h y a'' au"e" *y * ac1s$ this narrati+e in&uistic sty e is'eratin& to %hites %ho %ish you'" *e "irect an" hurry u' an" &et to the 'oint. (1<6= see a so 161) But ' is not necessari y in1e" to race. As a &ra))atica ter)$ ' )eans co2or"ination$ that is$ si)' e ;u.ta'osition$ %hi e its *inary o''osite$ hy'$ )eans su*or"ination$ 'uttin& e e)ents to&ether in %ays that c ear y sho% or create re ationshi's. Accor"in& to in&uist Jennifer Coates$ ' has *een historica y in1e" to e)otiona ity$ s'eech$ Bernstein's restricte" co"e$ an" %o)en's an&ua&e$ %hereas hy' has *een associate" %ith the c assic 9atin sentence$ o&ic$ %ritin&$ Bernstein's e a*orate" co"e$ an" )en's an&ua&e (25226). #a ter On& an" his "isci' e Tho)as J. 4arre )a1e )uch of ' as characteristic of -ora - thou&ht an" an&ua&e an" hy' as a feature of - iterate- thou&ht an" an&ua&e (On& "oes not "istin&uish *et%een co&niti+e 'ro'erties an" an&ua&e). A 'aratactic or to'ic2associatin& narrati+e sty e$ then$ ac1s e.' icit e.ica or syntactic connecti+es an" shift )ar1ers that are assu)e" to *e a 'art of the hy'otactic sty e that >on an" Su,anne Sco on ha+e ca e" -essayist iteracy.- As 3ichae s e.' ains$ in narrati+es to " in the 'aratactic or to'ic2associatin& sty e$ "a series of segments or episodes are implicitly linked in highlighting some person or theme" ("*arrative" !+,) -onversely, the hypotactic or topic.centered narrative is linear, explicitly and logically connected, closer to the expository prose that has been, according to 'wearingen, "the norm for formal truth.bearing discourse" since (ristotle (3/) Sharin& Ti)e Durin& sharin& ti)e$ Deena's #hite )i"" e2c ass teacher trie" to &ui"e the chi "ren to%ar" a si)' ifie" +ersion of the to'ic2centere" narrati+e sty e(in 3ichae s' %or"s$ the -canonica - -#estern story for) )o"e - (-7arrati+e- 1?1). !"entifie" *y scho ars i1e S)ither)an$ Tannen (-3yth-)$ an" @eath as characteristic of #hite )i"" e2c ass )ainstrea) "iscourse$ the to'ic2centere" sty e inc u"es an announce" the)e foregrounded throughout the rest of the narrative, the linear ordering of events, a clear resolution, and, of course, explicit lexical and syntactic markers for shifts in time, space, and topic (0ichaels, "*arrative" !+2.!+3) 0indy&s story is an example of a topic.centered first.grade narrative) 3in"y: #hen ! %as in "ay ca)' 0 %e )a"e these 0 u) can" es 0 T: Aou )a"e the)B 3in"y: An" uh 0 !2! trie" it %ith "ifferent co ors 0 %ith *oth of the) *ut 0 one ;ust ca)e out0 this one ;ust ca)e out * ue 0 an" ! "on't 1no% %hat this co or is 00 T: That's neat2o 00 Te the 1i"s ho% you "o it fro) the +ery start 00 8reten" %e "on't 1no% a thin& a*out can" es00 . . . OC00 #hat "i" you "o firstB 00 #hat "i" you useB 00 4 ourB00

3in"y: D) . . . here's so)e 0 hot %a. 0 so)e rea hot %a. 0 that you 0 ;ust ta1e a strin& 0 an" tie a 1not in it 00 an" "i' the strin& in the u) %a. 00 T: #hat )a1es it uh ha+e a sha'eB 00 3in"y: D) 0 you ;ust sha'e it 00 T: Oh you sha'e" it %ith your han" 00 ))) 00 3in"y: But you ha+e0 first you ha+e to stic1 it into the %a.0 an" then %ater 0 an" then 1ee' "oin& that unti it &ets to the si,e you %ant it 00 T: OC 00#ho 1no%s %hat the strin& is forB 00 (3ichae s$ -7arrati+e- 1?5) As you can see$ the teacher is$ as 3ichae s says$ -hi&h y successfu at 'ic1in& u' on 3in"y's to'ic an" usin& her offerin& as a scaffo " on %hich to *ui "- (-7arrati+e- 1?5). But Deena's story$ a*e e" to'ic2 associatin&$ ac1s e.' icit e.ica or syntactic )ar1ers to in"icate shifts in to'ic$ chrono o&y$ or 'ers'ecti+e. The 'aratactic$ to'ic2associatin& narrati+e is i1e y to see) ra)* in&$ incoherent$ an" i o&ica to so)eone unfa)i iar %ith 'aratactic narrati+e )o"es an" stee'e" in the con+entions of the an&ua&e of schoo in&. !t is c ear that to her teacher Deena's story a''ears to *e the stitching together of unrelated pieces of information) Deena: D) . . . ! %ent to the *each 0 . . . Sun"ay 0 an" 0 to 3acDona "'s 0 an" to the 'ar1 0 . . . an" 0 ! &ot this for )y 0 . . . *irth"ay 00 Eho "s u' a s)a 'urseF . . . 3y )other *ou&ht it for )e 0 . . . an" u) 0 . . . ! ha" 0 . . . u) 0 . . . t%o "o ars for )y *irth"ay an" ! 'ut it in here 0 . . . an" ! %ent to %here )y frien" 0 . . . na)e" :i :i 0 . . . ! %ent o+er to )y &ran")other's house %ith her0 . . . an" u) 0 . . . she %as on )y *ac1 0 an" ! 0 . . . an" %e %as %a 1in' aroun" 0 . . . *y )y house 0 . . . an" u) 0 . . . she %as hea2+y 0 She %as in the or se+enth &ra"e 00

T: O1 !') &oin& to sto' you. ! %ant to ta 1 a*out thin&s that are rea y rea y +ery i)'ortant. That's i)'ortant to you *ut te us thin&s that are sort of "ifferent. Can you "o thatB An" te %hat *each you %ent to. (-7arrati+e- 1?621?9) The teacher %as ess successfu in he 'in& Deena an"$ accor"in& to 3ichae s$ other African2A)erican chi "ren to structure an" c arify their narrati+es. !n"ee" this is 3ichae s' )ain 'oint. She te s us that the teacher -see)e" to ha+e "ifficu ty "iscernin& the to'ic- in the narrati+es of the B ac1 chi "ren %ho use" the to'ic2associatin& sty e (-7arrati+e- 1?6): -ESFhe inter'rete" Deena's shifts' as free associations fro) one to'ic to another$ thou&ht u' on the s'ur of the )o)ent so that Deena cou " continue ta 1in&(-Dis)ant in&- G21). Conse/uent y$ the teacher as1e" /uestions at ina''ro'riate ti)es$ often causin& these

chi "ren to ose their train of thou&ht (-7arrati+e- 1?6)$ or she cut the) off ;ust as they &ot to the )ain 'oint$ as she "oes %ith Deena. 3ichae s ar&ues that these -)is)atches- (-7arrati+e- 11G) *et%een teacher an" stu"ent ne&ati+e y affect the iteracy instruction these chi "ren recei+e$ if for no other reason than that these )isun"erstan"in&s ne&ati+e y affect the teacher2stu"ent re ationshi'$ a crucia factor in earnin&. #hen$ se+era )onths ater$ 3ichae s /uestione" Deena a*out sharin& ti)e$ Deena %as sti un"erstan"a* y annoye" a*out the interru'tions to her sharin& ti)e stories: -Sharin& ti)e &ot on )y ner+es. She %as a %ays interru'tin' )e sayin& That's not i)'ortant enou&h' an" ! ha"n't har" y starte" ta 1in'H- (-7arrati+e11?). 7onethe ess$ Deena c ear y 1ne% the to'ic2centere" sty e: she cou " articu ate an" 'ara'hrase the ru es for a to'ic2centere" story an" e+en re'ro"uce its 'roso"y$ )i)ic1in& 'recise y its soun"s an" rhyth)s: -She ;ust %ante" us to say i1e0 %e 0 %e yester"ay 0 * ah * ah * ah 0* ah * ah * ah- (-7arrati+e111). !f Deena 1ne% the ru es for schoo stories$ then %hy "i"n't she use to'ic2centere" for)B One ans%er is 'sycho o&ica . To Deena$ her teacher has a''eare" re;ectin& an" "isa''ro+in&= for a of us$ re)e)*er$ criticis) of our an&ua&e fee s i1e criticis) of us. 8erha's )aintainin& her o%n "iscourse sty e in the face of this "isa''ro+a is Deena's %ay of re;ectin& her teacher. !nterestin& y$ ho%e+er$ un i1e )any chi "ren %ho re*e a&ainst a teacher$ Deena "oesn't carry her an&er so far as to refuse to earn anythin& in this teacher's c assroo). Accor"in& to 3ichae s$ Deena %as -the +ery *est rea"er in her c ass an" the on y B ac1 chi " (in a c ass that %as ha f %hite an" ha f B ac1) %ho %as in the hi&h a*i ity &rou' for rea"in& an" )ath- (-Dis)ant in&- G1G). Another e.' anation is cu tura . Accor"in& to 3ichae s$ Deena %as fro) a %or1in&2c ass African2 A)erican nei&h*orhoo"$ an" her a*i ity &rou' cohorts %ere fro) )i"" e2 an" u''er2)i"" e2c ass areas (-Dis)ant in&- G1G). 8erha's in this )u ti2ethnic schoo $ Deena nee"s to ho " on to her ethnic an" racia i"entity$ to )aintain the cu tura 'ractices that she *rou&ht %ith her: As any in&uist(or Southerner(%i te you$ -E!Ft is one of an&ua&e's functions to act as a sy)*o of &rou' i"entity- (Coates I6). Deena's %ay of te in& stories fee s not on y natura to her *ut a so$ in this conte.t$ "istinct y her o%n. Deena is$ in fact$ in &oo" co)'any= e+en hi&h y iterate a"u ts ho " on to ethnic an" re&iona narrati+e 'atterns$ accor"in& to De*orah Tannen (-Ora 09iterate Continuu)-). !n one stu"y$ Tannen foun" that hi&h y iterate 7e% Aor1ers of Jast Juro'ean Je%ish *ac1&roun" resiste" 'ressure to e.' ain e.' icit y the 'oint of their stories to e/ua y iterate nati+e Ca ifornians$ %hose o%n narrati+es ty'ica y inc u"e" e.' icit co))ent on the )essa&e. !nstea"$ Tannen re'orts$ the 7e% Aor1ers continue" to use the content of the narrati+e as %e as 'roso"ic features$ intonation$ an" facia e.'ressions to in"icate their attitu"e to%ar" the 'oint or 'rinci' e of the stories they to ". Both Ceith :i yar" an" June Jor"an ha+e %ritten e o/uent y of how powerful "lack 1nglish is in the identity of (frican.(mericans and how on.going attempts to eradicate it threaten to deprive "lack children and adolescents of knowledge of and pride in their cultural history 2ilyard says that the attitude toward (frican.(merican language and identity that "lack students find in school causes too many of them to re$ect formal education before they can discover its power (!/3) 4n his recent 5oices of the 'elf, 2ilyard alternates research from sociolinguistics and education with autobiography to argue elo6uently that "a pedagogy is successful only if it makes knowledge or skill achievable while at the same time allowing students to maintain their own sense of identity" (!!) 7ordan makes a similar point in her essay "*obody 0ean 0ore to 0e 8han 9ou and the :uture ;ife of #illie 7ordan " #eaving together narratives of an undergraduate class on "lack 1nglish and the murder of a student&s unarmed brother by "rooklyn police, 7ordan explains that "compulsory education in (merica compels accommodation to exclusively #hite forms of 1nglish&" (3/<) :or these writers%as well as for 7ames "aldwin%"lack 1nglish represents survival in a hostile

culture The Criti/ue !f Deena ho "s on to her %ay of te in& a story as a %ay of )aintainin& her i"entity an" unconscious y resistin& -forei&n- schoo 'ractices$ then 'erha's %e can use Deena's story to criti/ue to'ic2centere" schoo an&ua&e. 4or instance$ Deena's story a*out her *irth"ay(her to'ic(a o%s her to share an" to ce e*rate her se f (cf. @eath 16<2166)$ a se f that cannot *e se'arate" fro) her acti+ities$ her &ifts$ her acco)' ish)ents. Deena's story is )ore than a cata o& of acti+ities: co)'rise" of 'ersona e.'erience restin& on unna)e"$ une.' aine" *ut reco&ni,a* e 'ositi+e e)otions$ it is fu of other 'eo' e(her )other$ her &ran")other$ her frien" :i :i. The structure of Deena's story a o%s us to see Deena at the center of these re ationshi's in a %ay that the a''ro+e" inear narrati+e of sharin& ti)e cannot. !n Deena's story there is no o*;ecti+e truth out there to *e o*ser+e" neutra y an" re'orte" anony)ous y to an un1no%n "isintereste" 'u* ic au"ience. The ru es of sharin& ti)e *e ie the actua situation %here chi "ren %ho 1no% each other &ather each "ay to share their e.'eriences. !f Deena's story is a criti/ue of #hite Jn& ish$ then$ a&ain$ this chi " is in &oo" co)'any. Jor"an says that -the 'resence of ife- is a "istincti+e feature not on y of B ac1 "iscourse *ut of B ac1 +a ues as %e : -EOFur an&ua&e is a syste) constructe" *y 'eo' e constant y nee"in& to insist that %e$ that %e are 'resent. Our an&ua&e "e+o +es fro) a cu ture that a*hors a a*straction$ or anythin& ten"in& to o*scure or "e ete the fact of the hu)an *ein& %ho is here an" no% . . .- (G6I). Si)i ar criti/ues of #hite Jn& ish One of )y 'ersona fa+orites occurs in 7to,a1e Shan&e's -no )ore o+e 'oe)s KG-: so %hy "on't %e &o on ahea" L *e %hite then0 L )a1e e+erythin "ry L a*stract %it no rhyth) L no ree in& for sheer sensua ' easure . . . . . . ets thin1 our %ay outta fee in& . . . But not a such criti/ues co)e fro) African2A)erican %riters. 9isten to :er)an fe)inist Dorothee Soe e on )ainstrea) theo o&y: ETFheo o&ica an&ua&e has *een stri''e" of a the ho istic$ e)'hatic$ an" inte&rati+e /ua ities %e are fa)i iar %ith fro) the :os'e s. So2ca e" -scientific- theo o&y usua y e.'resses itse f in an&ua&e +oi" of consciousness. This an&ua&e ref ects no consciousness *ecause it is e)'ty of e)otion$ insensiti+e to hu)an e.'erience$ &host i1e$ neutra . . . . !t a")its of no "ou*t. (6G26<) J.' icit y associatin& -scho ar y i"ea s i1e neutra ity$ "isintereste"ness$ an" the a*sence of e)otion- %ith the - an&ua&e of "o)ination$- Soe e ar&ues that uni+ersities teach stu"ents to &i+e u' -!- in serious "iscourse as a %ay of trainin& the) to -&i+e u' their su*;ecti+ity$ their e)otiona ity$ their ran&e of e.'erience$ their 'artisanshi'- (65). Stu"yin& the "iscourse of the Other 'er)its those of us %ho are #hite$ or )a e$ or aca"e)ic$ or )i"" e2 c ass (*y *irth or *y trainin&) to see the i)its of our an&ua&e 'ractices$ 'ractices 'ur'orte" to *esto% &reat 'o%ers of ana ysis an" o&ic on their users. 8erha's the 'otentia of the 'aratactic to'ic2associatin& sty e for su*t ety an" ' easure can ser+e as a correcti+e to the 'ur'orte" efficiency of the to'ic2centere" for). Accor"in& to Jor"an$ -the 'resence of ife- in the "iscourse of African2A)ericans yie "s *oth its +oice an" its c arity (G6I). The a*sence of these t%o features in aca"e)ic %ritin& at a e+e s has *een on& "ecrie" *y co)'osition teachers$ 'rofessiona %riters$ an" cu tura critics of +arious 'ersuasions. !t isn't enou&h$ then$ ;ust to reco&ni,e Deena's to'ic2associati+e sty e in sharin& ti)e$ nor is it enou&h to offer affir)ation for her stories. As 8atricia Bi,,e has 'ut it$ -One %ou " ha+e to . . . 'ush for the +a uation *y %hite 'eo' e of the 1in" of )eanin& * ac1 "iscourse )a1es('recise y *ecause the )eanin&s of * ac1 "iscourse cha en&e an" correct the )eanin& of %hite "iscourse- (15). !"ea y$ Deena's au"ience %ou " reco&ni,e the to'ic2associatin& narrati+e for) as a %ay to ce e*rate their o%n i+es an" the acti+ities %hich &i+e )eanin& to the) an" %ou " then use such a sty e to te their o%n stories. But to )a1e a narrati+e sty e associate" (in the )in"s of those %ith 'o%er) %ith the re"uce" status of the Other acce'ta* e for use *y the chi "ren of the "o)inant %ou " entai not )ere y 'e"a&o&ica chan&e$ *ut in fact "ee' socia chan&e.

The Dan&ers So far$ ! ha+e use" o''ositions %hich contrast one set of "iscourse 'ractices %ith another in or"er to "e)onstrate the a"+anta&es of the "e+a ori,e" a ternate "iscourse )etho" as %e as to 'oint to the i)its of the +a ori,e" for)s of the -stan"ar"- an&ua&e. Such a stance assu)es the sta*i ity of cate&ories i1e fe)a e0)a e$ B ac10#hite$ ora 0 iterate$ 'aratactic0hy'otactic$ an" to'ic2associatin&0to'ic2centere". This is not$ ho%e+er$ an assu)'tion that ! a) co)forta* e 'er'etuatin&= on the contrary$ ! %ou " i1e us to *e s1e'tica of such socia y constructe" o''ositions. >eco&ni,in& the tra"itiona y su*or"inate si"e of the "ichoto)ous 'air is an i)'ortant first ste' in initiatin& socia chan&e an" that therefore any 'ro&ressi+e 'ro;ect in co)'osition )ust *e *oth inc usi+e an" affir)ati+e. 4urther$ criti/ue of the tra"itiona y un)ar1e" or nor)ati+e si"e can he ' "i)inish the a%e in %hich its for)s are often he ". But in affir)in& one si"e an" criti/uin& the other$ %e nee" to *e carefu . Ann Berthoff ca s such 'airs of ter)s -Ci er Dichoto)ies- (96$ 1?6). 4irst$ %e )ust *e a%are of the "an&ers of ro)antici,in& the "iscourse 'ractices of the Other. Such ro)antici,in& ea"s us to *e ie+e that certain an&ua&e for)s are so)eho% inherent y *etter or )ore natura than others$ a o%in& us to for&et that a an&ua&e for)s an" 'ractices$ inc u"in& Deena's associati+e narrati+e$ are socia $ cu tura constructs. This is the "an&er of essentia is). >o)antici,in& the in&uistic 'atterns on one si"e of the o''osition can ea" to a secon" "an&er. Catha 8o itt has recent y ar&ue" that -"ifference- fe)inists often i"ea i,e %o)en as nurturers %hi e i&norin& the fact that the /ua ities they a''ro+e of in %o)en are -inse'ara* e fro) the 'arts they "on't i1e (econo)ic "e'en"ence an" the su*or"ination of %o)en %ithin the fa)i y)- (6?6). #ithout this sort of a%areness$ &enuine socia chan&e is i)'ossi* e *ecause the )ateria con"itions %hich )aintain an" sti&)ati,e "ifference are not reco&ni,e". Thus %hen %e ta 1 a*out the an&ua&e for)s of the Other in A)erica( %o)en$ African2A)ericans$ an" other ethnic &rou's$ for e.a)' e$ nati+e @a%aiians(%e nee" to *e a%are that those for)s ha+e *een$ fro) the 'ers'ecti+e of the "o)inant cu ture$ associate" %ith the 'o%er essness of 'o+erty an" restricte" e"ucation. #hen ! say restricte" e"ucation$ ! a) ta 1in& a*out nineteenth century 7orth Caro ina statutes for*i""in& iteracy to s a+es= schoo s ca e" se'arate *ut e/ua that %ere ne+er e/ua = unto " &enerations of %o)en$ e+en %o)en of 'ri+i e&e$ "e'ri+e" of rhetorica e"ucation. !f %e "o not re)e)*er that "iscourse is roote" in )ateria $ historica con"itions$ %e cannot effect rea chan&e. Another "an&er of "ichoto)ies is$ then$ that they et us too easi y i&nore issues of 'o%er. An" a coro ary: Those %ho see1 chan&e ha+e earne" that affir)in& the /ua ities of the su*or"inate Other "oes not e i)inate the 'ro* e)s of 'ri+i e&e an" 'o%er$ %hich a''arent y a %ays see1 to assert the)se +es$ 'roc ai)in& this 'ractice +a i" *ut not that one$ this &rou' 'resti&ious *ut not that one$ this an&ua&e acce'ta* e *ut not that one. The ur&e to 'o%er is not i)ite" to #hite )en$ an" re+ersin& the hierarchy ea+es us %ith hierarchy$ not %ith e/ua ity an" res'ect for "i+ersity. Thir"$ %e nee" to *e a%are that %hat is sai" a*out the Other a )ost in+aria* y "escri*es %hat the 'o%erfu %ish to "eny in the)se +es. 9uci" an" e)inent y rea"a* e$ Bar*ara Jhrenreich's 4ear of 4a in&: The !nner 9ife of the 3i"" e C ass re'orts that socio o&ica "escri'tions of the 'oor ha+e ty'ica y inc u"e" co))ents on their -inarticu ate s'eech$- a "eficiency %hich su''ose" y ste)s fro) their -insensiti+ity- to "ifferences a)on& their o%n 'ers'ecti+es an" those of other 'ersons (26). Jhrenreich in1s this 'ercei+e" %ea1ness in an&ua&e %ith a %ho e series of stereoty'es 'ro;ecte" *y socio o&ists u'on the Other to ar&ue that -These E%ea1nessesF %ere the +ery o''osite of the traits the )i"" e c ass i1e" to ascri*e to itse f( se f2"isci' ine$ an a*i ity to ' an ahea"$ to )eet se f2i)'ose" &oa s$ an" so forth- (5?251). ! fin" it usefu to re)e)*er$ as %e $ that this 'ro;ection inc u"es the tra"itiona co)'arison of the Other(African2 A)ericans$ %o)en$ the 'oor$ the -ora $- non2in"ustria i,e" 'eo' es e+ery%here(to chi "ren. The "an&er here is the delusion of superiority #hat e)er&es fro) this "iscussion is a core /uestion: !f the o''ositions %hich are use" to "escri*e Deena's story rest on essentia ist 'ers'ecti+es that a o% so)e to "e u"e the)se +es a*out their su'eriority an" others to i&nore the )ateria rea ities of 'o%er in a hierarchica y structure" society$ then is the "escri'tion itse f +a i"B 8erha's the a*e s )ere y ref ect the *iases of )i"" e c ass aca"e)ics %hose %or " is$

accor"in& to Jhrenreich$ -a )ost %ho y insu ar$ se f2referentia $ an" in its o%n %ay$ 'arochia - (25I). Jhrenreich &oes on to say that )i"" e c ass 'rofessiona s -se "o) see the others' e.ce't as 'ro;ections of our o%n an.ieties or instru)ents of our a)*itions$ an" e+en %hen seein& the)(as +icti)s$ cases$' or e.e)' ars of so)e archaic +irtue(se "o) hear- (25I). (! as1$ a) ! "oin& this to DeenaB) #e nee" to *e cautious in a'' yin& such ter)s as hy'otactic an" 'aratactic to iso ate" instances of the an&ua&e of in"i+i"ua s %ho are 'ur'orte" to re'resent socia &rou's. #e nee" to *e carefu in &enera i,in& e.' anations of such sa)' es to %ho e &rou's. Deena cou " *e anyone at si. i+in& in a %or1in&2c ass nei&h*orhoo" &oin& to a )u ti2ethnic schoo in Ber1e ey$ Ca ifornia. 8ost2secon"ary conte.ts Deena's story is e)* e)atic$ ! *e ie+e$ of a nu)*er of issues %hich face co e&e Jn& ish teachers an" has )uch to say to instructors of the officia an&ua&e$ &uar"ians of the "ia ect of 'resti&e an" 'o%er$ )uch to say to researchers into rhetoric an" iterature. Thin1in& a*out Deena's story o+er ti)e has contri*ute" to )y teachin& of co e&e %ritin&. 4irst$ it has he 'e" )e hear the stories )y stu"ents te . 9i1e Deena's teacher after she earne" a*out the to'ic2associatin& sty e$ ! no% assu)e that %hat )y stu"ents %rite )a1es sense$ that there is a reason for %hat a''ears to *e an a*ru't shift in to'ic (-7arrati+e- 11I). ! a) rea"y to un"erstan" that )y a")onition for$ say$ -)ore "etai - is a c ass2*oun" nee" of )ine rather than a transcen"ent 'rinci' e. Secon"$ ana ysis of Deena's story has 'ro+i"e" +a i"ation for a 'ractice that has on& *een 'art of )y 'e"a&o&y( free%ritin&: ;ust %ritin& any %ay you fee i1e$ i&norin& a the -ru es- if you %ant to. !t see)s to )e that if stu"ents are to -co)e to +oice-(to use *e hoo1s' 'hrase(they shou " fee free to %rite their -o%nan&ua&es an" their o%n i"eas %ithout censorin&. 9ater$ they )ay nee" to contrast that an&ua&e %ith %hat stu"ents ca -for)a - %ritin&. Thin1in& a*out Deena's story has he 'e" )e 'oint out those contrasts so that stu"ents *eco)e a%are of the)$ not to see one re&ister as %ron& an" one as ri&ht$ *ut to c ai) *oth as 'art of their ar&er an&ua&e re'ertoire. Thir"$ thin1in& a*out Deena's story has he 'e" )e see that it is i)'ortant for stu"ents to rea" "iscourses that +io ate the ru es of essayist$ to'ic2centere"$ hy'otactic iteracy an" to e.'eri)ent %ith in+entin& their o%n for)s. 9ast fa in )y first2year$ first2se)ester co)'osition c ass$ ! ha" an African2A)erican )an %hose c ear y structure" essays containe" fe% +io ations of the con+entions of -stan"ar"- #hite Jn& ish *ut ac1e" that /ua ity that co)'osition teachers ca +oice. Ta1in& a )ost no chances$ he %rote 'a'ers that %ere safe$ e.hi*itin& itt e of %hat Jor"an ca s the -'resence of ife- (G6I). 3y ' eas for hi) to 'ush his i"eas$ to thin1 a*out %hy he %ante" to say this or te that$ to connect the assi&ne" rea"in& an" the %ritin& %ith his o%n e.'erience "i" itt e &oo". But then near the en" of the se)ester he rea" Jor"an's essay a*out B ac1 Jn& ish$ %hich inc u"es a 'rotest %ritten to the 'o ice *y Jor"an's stu"ents in B ac1 Jn& ish. 3y stu"ent's res'onse 'a'er$ sti in stan"ar" Jn& ish$ ha" the c arity an" +oice that in"icate" 'ersona in+o +e)ent an" a sense of con+iction. !t see)e" to )e that June Jor"an ha" &i+en this youn& )an 'er)ission to 'ut hi)se f on 'a'er in a %ay that ! %as una* e to "o. Jor"an's essay ha" s'o1en to conf icts$ ho'es$ an" fears an" in+ite" hi) to s'ea1 *ac1 in a %ay that !(a #hite 'rofessor at an o+er%he )in& y #hite uni+ersity(cou " not "o at that )o)ent in his ife. >ea"in& the Jor"an essay "i" not$ ho%e+er$ )ean a "ra)atic re+o ution in sty e or content in his 'a'ers: The fina essay see)e" to )e to e.hi*it )ore confi"ence in a""ressin& co)' e. an" contro+ersia issues$ *ut it %as far )ore i1e his 're+ious essays than i1e his Jor"an res'onse 'a'er. 4ourth$ )e"itatin& on Deena's story has he 'e" )e to oo1 at %hat essayist iteracy for*i"s an" to ac1no% e"&e that %ith )y stu"ents. This ha''ene" e.' icit y in a conference %ith 7i)u$ a stu"ent in a recent a"+ance" co)'osition c ass. 7i)u's assi&n)ent %as to use A"rienne >ich's essay -#hen #e Dea" A%a1en- to "iscuss the 1in" of %ritin& tau&ht in schoo . She %as tryin& to ar&ue that %riters ha+e to *rea1 tra"ition$ *ut she %as ha+in& "ifficu ty &ettin& her i"eas sorte" out. As %e "iscusse" such ter)s as thesis an" su''ort to see %hether they )i&ht 'ro+e usefu $ 7i)u sai" that one reason %riters ha+e to *rea1 tra"ition is that -the tra"ition ea+es thin&s out.- #hen ! 'ushe" for e+i"ence$ she res'on"e" *y sayin& that fo o%in& )a e ru es of 'oetry ha" )eant that >ich ha" eft herse f out of her ear y 'oetry. An"$ ! as1e"$ has the tra"ition e+er cause" you to ea+e so)ethin& outB Aes$ she sai"$ the >o)an nu)era out ines she ha" *een tau&ht in )i"" e schoo ha" ne+er et her say %hat she %ante" to say. #as it 'ossi* e$ ! as1e"$

that %ritin& the essay in the for) %e %ere "iscussin& %ou " )ean that she %ou " ha+e to ea+e thin&s outB (The oo1 on her face has 1e't )e teachin& one )ore year.) Then %e %ent on to na)e the thin&s that she ha" %ritten in ear ier "rafts that cou " not *e inc u"e" in the essay she %as no% ' annin&(such thin&s as the a*stract "iscussion of the i fit *et%een tra"ition an" conte)'orary ife an" at east so)e of the historica references to ne% i"eas as *rea1s %ith esta* ishe" for)ats. Thin1in& a*out Deena's story$ then$ has he 'e" )e rea i,e that it is i)'ortant to )a1e c ear in co e&e co)'osition c asses that %e are teachin& s'ecific cu tura for)s an" an&ua&e2use 'ractices$ not uni+ersa truths a*out ho% thin&s shou " *e sai". Deena's story has he 'e" )e un"erstan" the 'ersona costs of tra"itiona 'roc a)ations a*out an&ua&e$ at *est ha f2truths$ at %orst ies: As S%earin&en e.' ains$ -Bein& ta 1-(%hich she "efines as the co)'rehensi+e$ conc usi+e$ tota i,in& state)ents of the treatise(-"ecei+es %hen it ' aces itse f in o''osition to$ outsi"e of$ an" su'erior to the )anifo "ness an" si)u taneities of 'heno)ena an" thou&h a i1e- (22G). Consi"erin& Deena's story has e" )e to teach that a the resources of an&ua&e *e on&(or shou " *e on&(to a of us= that 'eo' e %ho a*e their o%n an&ua&e as this an" so)eone e se's as that are confusin& an inte ectua too (the *inary o''osite(%ith rea ity$ %hich inc u"es not on y this an" that *ut a so -the )anifo "ness an" si)u taneity of 'heno)ena an" thou&ht a i1e- (S%earin&en 22G)= that 'eo' e %ho i)' y 'e;orati+e ;u"&)ents a*out the in&uistic for)s of socia &rou's to %hich they the)se +es "o not *e on& cou " *e 'ro;ectin& their fears onto these &rou's. To teach$ ! continue %rest in& %ith the re ationshi's of an&ua&e$ i"entity$ an" 'o%er. #hen 8 ato$ Aristot e$ Tho)as @o**es$ Otto Jes'ersen$ Jac1 :oo"y$ Da+i" O son$ #a ter On&$ an" J. D. @irsch ta 1 a*out their an&ua&e %ith ter)s i1e 'hi oso'hic$ scientific$ rationa $ a*stract$ ana ytic$ conte.t2 free$ autono)ous$ su*or"inati+e$ an" iterate$ they i)'ose their iterary an" socia fantasy not on y on the Other *ut a so on the)se +es$ an" the an&ua&e they re/uire *eco)es caricature. Their -*ein& ta 1- %ith its a*e s an" "ichoto)ies "ecei+es$ * in"in& the) to the i)itations of their o%n "iscourse an" to the rhetorica 'ossi*i ities of a hu)an an&ua&e$ inc u"in& the in&uistic an" narrati+e 'ractices of the Other. !n innocence an" ;oy$ Deena's story re)in"s us of the 'ossi*i ities of hu)an "iscourse: -* ah$ * ah$ * ah$ * ah$ * ah.C e)son Dni+ersity C e)son$ South Caro ina 7OTJS 1 A +ery ear y +ersion of this 'a'er %as 'art of a 1969 CCCC 'ane on -A ternati+e Discourse as >esistance- that inc u"e" 'resentations *y Susan Jarratt$ 8atricia Bi,,e $ an" 9ynn #orsha). #ithout re+ision those 'a'ers %ere 'u* ishe" in Discurren"o: A Muarter y 7e%s etter of the 7e% Society for 9an&ua&e an" >hetoric G (#inter 199?). ! ha+e "ra%n not on y on that "iscussion *ut a so on +a ua* e su&&estions *y Dennis A en$ J isa S'ar1s$ Art Aoun&$ Ceith #a ters$ an" Da+i" B eich as ! ha+e e.'an"e" an" re+ise" that 'a'er. A recent ora +ersion %as 'resente" in 1995 at the :eor&ia2South Caro ina Co e&e Jn& ish Association Conference. 2 See$ for e.a)' e$ such stan"ar" %or1s as Tru"&i = @au&en$ es'. Cha'ter 11$ -Dia ect$ 9an&ua&e$ 7ation(''. 2GI225<)= an" 9a*o+$ es'. Cha'ter 5$ -The 9o&ic of 7on2Stan"ar" Jn& ish- (''. 2?122<?)$ an" Cha'ter 6$ -The >e ations of >ea"in& 4ai ure to 8eer2:rou' Status- (''. 2<1225G). Coates' *oo1 ta1es into account &en"er as %e as socia c ass$ race$ an" ethnicity. Se'arate y an" to&ether$ Ceith #a ters an" ! ha+e ar&ue" this 'oint in our %or1 on iteracy. #or1s Cite" Ba "%in$ Ja)es. -!f B ac1 Jn& ish !sn't a 9an&ua&e$ Then Te 3e$ #hat !sB- 7e% Aor1 Ti)es$ Sun"ay$ Ju y 29$ 19I9. Berthoff$ Ann J. The Sense of 9earnin&. 8orts)outh$ 7@: @eine)ann$ Boynton0Coo1$ 199?. Bi,,e $ 8atricia. ->es'onse to Susan Jarratt an" Beth Danie .- Discurren"o: A Muarter y 7e%s etter of the 7e% Society for 9an&ua&e an" >hetoric G (199?): 12215. Coates$ Jennifer. #o)en$ 3en an" 9an&ua&e: A Socio in&uistic Account of Se. Differences in 9an&ua&e. 9on"on: 9on&)an$ 1966. Danie $ Beth. ->o"ney an" the Teachin& of Stan"ar" Jn& ish.- 9an&ua&e Arts 61.5 (196<): <9625?<.

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