The E-Word : Ebonics, Race and Language Politics

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  • Creator Meridian Education Corporation
  • Format Videos, Slides, Films
  • Contributors
  • Publication [Place of publication not identified] : Meridian Education Corporation, [2015] New York, N.Y. : distributed by Films Media Group, 2015.
  • Physical Details
    • 1 online resource (1 video file (1 hr., 1 min., 26 sec.)) : sound, color
  • OCLC ocn919514469
  • Credits
    • Written, Directed and Produced by Jonathan Gayles


  • Access requires authentication through Films on Demand.


  • This documentary critically considers the Oakland Unified Schools' 1996 "Ebonics Resolution." Building on the success of local instructional programming, the Resolution sought to improve African-American student performance by acknowledging African American linguistic patterns and improving "the English acquisition and application skills of African-American students."Through the use of archival footage and contemporary interviews with scholars, educational policymakers and leaders and students who were directly involved with the Resolution, the documentary pursues a coherent and comprehensive engagement of Ebonics. The programexplores; the African roots of the linguistic patterns that define Ebonics, the debate about the name, the adoption, revision and local debate about the resolution, and the ways in which the discussion of Ebonics entered the larger American public through media and public policy. The film aims to raise the topic of Ebonics in a contemporary and scholarly context, and is the first documentary to address this complex issue through an engagement with linguistic and educational research.


  • Streaming video file encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on June 24, 2015.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.
  • Closed-captioned.


  • Introduction: Ebonics, Race and Language Politics (1:38) -- Achievement Gap (2:40) -- Task Force (2:01) -- Public School Board Meeting (2:12) -- Prescott School (1:54) -- Media Misrepresents Program (3:44) -- Revisions to Resolution (1:47) -- Debate over Revisions to Document (5:02) -- Origins of the Word Ebonics (3:15) -- Whether Ebonics is English Vernacular (3:32) -- Genetics Used Metaphorically in Linguistics (1:41) -- Grammar in Ebonics (1:36) -- Being Verbs in Ebonics (6:40) -- Goals and Misrepresentation of Resolution (2:25) -- Senate Hearings (1:32) -- Making Fun of Ebonics (3:13) -- Language Versus Dialect (3:41) -- Language and Social Status (2:10) -- Black Opponents of Ebonics (1:22) -- Language and Identity (2:47) -- Retrospective on Ebonics Controversy (4:44) -- Credits: The E-Word: Ebonics, Race and Language Politics (1:26)
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