Grammar Is Racist
by Douglas Mercer
NEARLY EVERYONE in the 18th Century thought that ancient Greek was the perfect language. They marveled at its expressiveness, its clarity. They described it as limpid and transparent, like a smooth and clear-running stream. They said that experiencing the language of Homer was not like reading at all — it was like seeing. Then they discovered Sanskrit which they believed put Greek in the shade.
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either.
So said Sir William Jones, the man who first outlined the Indo-European languages.
But certainly, according to Asao Inoue, Sir William Jones was a “racist.” And certainly a language fascist.
For who’s to say what’s good and bad? Who is anyone to judge? The very notion upsets the dark masses of the world.
* * *
A few decades ago, we even had a better class of race aliens. Semantics professor of Japanese descent S.I. Hiyakawa became a Senator from California. He teamed up with environmentalist, White heritage and eugenics-loving John Tanton of FAIR (Federation of American Immigration Reform) to form “U.S. English.” This organization was dedicated to making English the official language of the United States.
Hayakawa was the first to introduce the English Language Amendment. Concerned about the growing problems caused by the language barrier, Hayakawa founded U.S. ENGLISH upon leaving the Senate in 1983.
Now this is the quality of Japs we get (to be fair to Japs, he looks like he’s mixed-race):
My name is Asao B. Inoue. I was born in Inglewood, California, but raised in Las Vegas, Nevada in a single-parent, working poor home in a predominantly Black neighborhood in North Las Vegas, and working class white and Latinx neighborhoods in Las Vegas. I identify as a Japanese American, cisgender, male. I am Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University. My research and scholarship focus primarily on antiracist writing assessment.
You see, good and proper English is “racist.” Those clear running streams? They prefer to muddy them up with whatever anarchic caterwauling and cacophony they can “create.” You say you like to write and speak the King’s impeccably? Now you can be sure to find yourself in Inoue’s crosshairs.
His writings are peppered with bilge such as “WLS” which stands for — wait for it — White Language Supremacy. And he gives us the howler of “HOWL” which is: Habits of White Language.
You can be sure he doesn’t think that these are habits of the heart.
Asao B. Inoue is professor of Rhetoric and Composition in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University. His research focuses on antiracist and social justice theory and practices in writing assessments.
You heard that right. The freaks are on the march. And they won’t be happy until they’ve leveled everything down to the lowest common denominator. And you can be sure that that is a long way down. But the last statement above is wrong. He doesn’t have anything to do with practices in writing assessment. In fact he is opposed to assessments of any kind. They’re “racist,” don’t you know.
* * *
First we had our racial hodge-podge mystery-meat Vice President tell us that trees are racist; then we had that dirty sodomite Pete Buttigieg tell us that roads are racist.
But, really, what isn’t, these days?
Now an alien professor of rhetoric and composition (decomposition is more like it) comes to tell us that a perfectly worded sentence is racist. Grammar has always been seen as a structure which mirrors reality but Inoue will have no part of that. No sir. Grammar is racist.
And you’re racist too.
Now any foul-mouthed horribly spoken Black or Brown punk can come along with his word salad of horribly mixed up “English” and can lay claim to be as good as Shakespeare. Hell, better than Shakespeare. Why not, after all? Who’s to say? To say otherwise “be racist.”
Asao Inoue has achieved the dubious feat of combining unbridled horse droppings with industrial scale gobbledygook and added a fair sprinkling of gibberish into the mix — and now he is being elevated in the academy to the status of the next big thing.
And he’s taking dead aim at the King’s.
* * *
Hang on to your hat for this torrent of garbage:
This statement on white language supremacy (WLS) reflects our field’s commitment to linguistic justice for our BIPOC students and their communities, and our dedication to work as coconspirators against white supremacist practices. Our goal as critical anti-WLS educators is to dismantle WLS in our field and in ourselves. The work involves advocating for the defunding of deficit-based racist research, and of racist ideologies of learning, teaching, testing, and evaluation of teachers and students. Historically, the WLS industrial complex has contributed to the lucrative enrichment of individual scholars and fields of language and literacy studies while the so-called racial achievement exploitation gap has remained.
I’ll give you a quick second to wipe the slime off. Sorry, I should have advised you to put on a raincoat.
You see, this is the scam. What this is all about is that many “BIPOC” people (e.g., Congoids, Mestizos, and other grab bag race intruders) have never been able and never will be able to compete in the White man’s world. That poses something of a problem for their “champions” like Inoue. He’s a disgrace to his Japanese (and other) ancestors. Yellow may be a color, but it sure isn’t black. And doesn’t merde run downhill? Not like a clear-running stream, but run it does. He can’t admit that his dusky charges are genetically inferior; that option is not on the table. To do that would smack of eugenics and evolutionary biology, and all the bad things of scientific racism. Option B, which is much more appealing (and remunerative) is to cry “racism.” But for the likes of Inoue, the simple label of racism, though necessary, is not sufficient. In addition he needs to go out of his way to make a full scale hifalutin’ program with schema, papers, footnotes, “scholars,” and “org charts” and conferences and papers and all the rest of the hollow, mostly meaningless scholarly apparatus. From time to time he’ll get up at the lectern and bloviate that subject-verb-object is the greatest crime since the Lindbergh baby. It’s all the most crackpot thing you can imagine, but he has managed to cover the pot with the veneer of pretended scholarship. Why, he’s a professor at a state University, is he not? And with this kind of institutional weight, he can go on his crusade to singe the beard of the academy and cleanse it of its last remaining vestiges of “White language supremacy.” (I almost said White language privilege, but the acronym for that would be “WLP,” which is reserved for something quite sacred. As it is, stealing “WLS” from the radio station in Chicago is the least of his crimes.)
What is his crusade, you ask politely?
That grammar is racist. That everyone has a “right” to his own language, the language of rights being quite popular nowadays with deviant mutants.
Every man his own language? A private vocabulary, semantics, and syntax? Why, Steve Martin used to joke that it would be funny to teach kids to “talk wrong.” That way when they showed up for the first day of school they would raise their hands and ask the teacher “May I momu dogface to the banana patch?”
Give that kid a special test.
But you can be sure that for Inoue this is no laughing matter. He is a joke, but he is not joking.
And what he is really doing for the illiterate Black and Brown morons is setting up a glide path for them, which is the only way they can “succeed.” You see readin’ and writin’ be hard, very hard. They find that focusing for long periods on anything to be quite difficult.
Yes, indeed, the English language is taxing thing.
The underlying goal, he says, is to paper over and explain away that pesky “racial achievement exploitation gap.” He couldn’t bear to simply write the accurate “racial achievement gap” lest some red-hatted thugs get the wrong idea. No need to provide fuel to those aggressive bastards. No, he has to add the word “exploitation.” And, by the way, it’s not a “gap” — it’s a yawning chasm. It’s a space so high and wide you could drive a Mack truck through it. And the driver of that truck will be White and will be wearing a red hat and will be racist.
This Inoue creature says all our rules and all our answers are wrong, but he has an answer for everything.
Remember: If there are no rules, if one thing is good as the next, if standards of all kinds are tossed overboard, if there is no measure of achievement, then they have created a Congoid’s paradise.
They used to talk about defining deviance down.
Now they refuse to define anything at all. Because that would be racist.
Who be you to say different?
“White language supremacy in writing classrooms is due to the uneven and diverse linguistic legacies that everyone inherits, and the racialized white discourses that are used as standards, which give privilege to those students who embody those habits of white language already,” said Asao Inoue, professor of rhetoric and composition at Arizona State University.
Yes, diverse legacies to be sure. We have Shakespeare, they have the cannibal witch doctor. At the onset of the prevalence of the phrase Political Correctness, an American novelist got into hot water with the mutant deviant crowd for asking “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?”
Why, my good man, he’s over there eating that leg.
* * *
One of the main components of this all-out assault on White language supremacism is what Inoue calls “labor based grading.” You can be sure it’s not “based,” and it’s more than “woke,” in fact it’s wide-eyed and credulous. It won’t matter how good the writing is, or, more to the point, how awful, but how much “labor” the student put into it. Which of course means you have to take the students’ word for it. But then the concept of honesty, with its overtones of truth, has to be White supremacist too. So it won’t matter that they lie like they live.
“I be workin’ all night, Massa Asao!’
That’s a big fat A.
If you wonder why a grading system that caters to the dark-hued among us would put such emphasis on labor, you’re not alone. The Blacks are not known for their work ethic, and in fact the work ethic itself is a European thing. Blacks tend to be lazy, listless, lethargic, and shiftless — unless, of course, they are about to knock off a liquor store at which time they suddenly become demons of energy. And your Mexican Mestizos with their manana approach to life are also not known to be especially productive, but then manana is fine under this system (or the day after that, or whenever, or even not at all).
So now being a lackadaisical cesspool of failure is no barrier to success. Which is the point, after all.
To dismantle white supremacy in writing classrooms, Inoue suggested implementing labor-based grading because it redistributes power in ways that allow for more diverse habits of language to circulate.
F used to be for effort, now it’s an A for apathy.
The method involves assigning grades based on the labor students put into their assignments, rather than the grammar, style, and quality of their work.
Quality be racist. Of course it is. Indeed, the very notion of quality is the holy water that these vampires flee from. Quality implies care, attention, hard work, mastery of detail, endurance, and skill. And in the face of all those big bad racist words, what’s a my-norty to do other than to deny their importance? The work can be slipshod and horrible. Heck, even if the dog ate your homework it’s not an issue. Did you try to get it back? You didn’t? No problem. That’s a big fat A.
Labor-based grading structurally changes everyone’s relationship to dominant standards of English that come from elite, masculine, heteronormative, ableist, white racial groups of speakers.
If there’s a buzzword he doesn’t like, it’s only because he’s never heard of it.
But he’s actually right. The dominant standards of English did come from White men in their right mind. The dominant standards of English came from creative White men — geniuses who hammered them out over the centuries and left a legacy which is unparalleled. The strength of the English language is that it took in words from two tributaries of the Indo-European language tree: the Germanic and the Latin. The strength of the English language is that it was able to rapidly assimilate words from all quarters and make them its own; so it has by far more words than any other language; so powerful and flexible and confident is it that, unlike French, it does not need to set up an academy of linguistic fuss-budgets to guard it; it is alive and growing and young — and dominant in the world.
But this Inoue creep? He says it like it’s a bad thing. It’s not; it’s the marvel of the world.
* * *
Ultimately, though, this is an attack on grammar. To be able to put some words together in a coherent and compelling way is what rankles them the most. Grammar implies structure, time relations, rules, order — and eloquence. The White man with his elegant and refined speech, honed over centuries, is the last thing they can countenance. Certainly verbally incontinent Congoids with their severely limited mental ability are never going to be able to trace the sometimes sinuous verbal trails of English at its best. High diction, polished words, and sophisticated sentences are an affront to them. After all, who do we think we are to speak and write with such fluidity? Who are we to speak in the language of the gods? It’s enough to make them mad.
Inoue has emerged as one of the leading scholarly proponents within academia to denounce traditional spelling, grammar and punctuation grading norms as racist, and frequently gives talks to campuses to advance his argument. Inoue believes that a person’s writing ability should not be assessed, in order to promote anti-racist objectives. Inoue taught American University’s faculty members that their previous practices of grading writing promoted white language supremacy. [emphasis ours]
On a wholly other, but in a way deeply related, matter the Pope once said: “Who am I to judge?” But judgments, distinctions, evaluations, and assessments are the beating heart of thinking. Heck, that Socrates fellow vaulted to international celebrityhood by asking: What is the good? But these primitives and anarchists such as Inoue think the very notion of deciding between this or that, good and bad, healthy or sick, is “fascist to the core.” This is the mind frame that leads to the vomit of modern art, of modern music, just about modern anything. If Jackson Pollock were to have urinated all over a canvas (and who’s to say he didn’t?), they would have raved at the “boldness” and the “vision” of it. As long, of course, as they didn’t say it was any “better” than when Juan or Shaniqua defecated on one.
“To each his own” is the death knell of culture.
* * *
Oddly, when he writes, Inoue adheres to standard English grammar. But his language sufferers badly from the academic disease of impenetrable jargon. What he means by his knotted sentences is discernible, mostly, but flowing it is not:
The tenets of Black Lives Matter, critical race theory–informed, decolonial, culturally responsive, antiracist, and race-radical literacies urge us to name and label the structural violence of the institutions that are working against BIPOC students.
Name and label, mind you. No wonder he doesn’t like the idea of being assessed. If they ever have a Hall of Fame for stilted prose, he’ll be in on the first ballot.
All of this claptrap and codswollop finds itself under the ever-infamous rubric of “decolonizing the curriculum.” You see, they have a real problem. The Blacks, the Browns, and the “indigenous” come from such different backgrounds and cultures, and such backward ones — and they find themselves in a complex and sophisticated one, one that was built up over millennia while they were picking fruit and taking it back to the hut. To master this advanced culture is no easy feat; and so they fall back on the oldest crutch in the book (and their favorite one): that they were colonized. In their imaginations, their cultures were strong and vibrant until the White man came and oppressed them. This isn’t revisionist history; it’s risible history. But in order to save face and console themselves, human beings (or even beings with only the vaguest pretense of being human) will carry on any number of charades. Their story this time is that this supposed cultural colonization is what made them lag behind, what retarded their civilizational growth; and now they need to undo it, not by hard work, no, but by doing no work at all, by simply denying the value of work, and impugning the White man’s culture and way of life.
It’s sour grapes on a world-historical timeline. It’s little more than the tantrum of a small child as they hop up and down in rage and demand to be given something; instead of doing the hard and grueling work of getting up to speed and actually achieving something.
A race-blind “conservative” might say that Inoue and his cohorts are selling their students short, but in nearly all of the cases I’m sure they are not. You can’t get blood from a turnip.
* * *
White language supremacy (WLS) is an implement to white supremacy, particularly within educational institutions. Contextualized within present exigencies, antiracist educators must work alongside students, communities, and institutions to push for the dismantling of WLS because of its deleterious effects on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), domination and dehumanization of all people, and its detrimental effects to our environment and its resources.
The Evil White Man made them speak pidgin English. But pidgin is as good as the King’s!
I wonder if cognitive dissonance gives them headaches.
The White man brought them down. It was the big White man at the agora in the flowing robes giving the eloquent and fluid speech, with its wide-ranging vocabulary and its impeccable grammar — he was the one who brought them down!
WLS assists white supremacy by using language to control reality and resources by defining and evaluating people, places, things, reading, writing, rhetoric, pedagogies, and processes in multiple ways that damage our students and our democracy.
Here he is simply arguing against intellect itself. His is a plea for stupidity in its raw form. He is essentially saying that the White man with his vaunted English language is simply too quick on the draw for people of color; the Whites flash their words like lightning and assess and define; and the Blacks and the Browns get confused; it’s like it’s whirring so fast before them that the next thing they know they’re in verbal chains. Darkie never really stood a chance, and that ain’t fair.
His final assault is on the quintessence of the White man’s thought: science and objectivity.
There are at least six habits of white language that often create the conditions of WLS. The first habit is always present in WLS and is required. It works with one or more of the other five habits to create conditions that are WLS. These habits of white language (HOWL) are:
Naturalized orientation to the world
Stance of neutrality, objectivity,
Individualized, rational, controlled self
Rule-governed, contractual relationships
Clarity, order, and control.
Except for hyper-individualism (which is often, admittedly, a problem for us — but certainly not an essential asset), basically Inoue is correct here: This is a decent enough summary of the glories of White civilization: a natural and non-artificial, non-false relation to the world, and being able to see things from an overarching perspective: objective, rational, rule-based, ordered, and clear. Magnificent!
The most telling part of this is his idea that control of self is a negative characteristic. He knows that his “students of color” are notorious for their lack of this virtue: They have an evolutionary propensity for short time preferences, poor impulse control, a predilection for violence, and a woeful inability to think and plan ahead, to provision for the future. And control of self leads to control of reality. But controlling reality is not something they can do well, because they don’t have the discipline for it; they are simply not bred for it. Rather, reality is something which bewilders them.
The nadir is reached when the professor insists that each person has the right to his own language. As with everything else he does, he has a cutesy acronym for it: SRTOL (students’ right to own language).
SRTOL was forged in the political backdrop of the Civil Rights, Black Power, and other liberation movements worldwide to provide open access for racially and linguistically oppressed groups.
It was around the time that Blacks really were getting out of control in America that many began to express themselves so “freely” and without regard for rules, that they began to speak a kind of private pidgin — whether anyone else could understand it or not did not matter, of course, because they weren’t saying anything of consequence anyway.
SRTOL has served as a cornerstone of some of the most critical language policy moments, from the 1977 Ann Arbor Black English case, the creation of the National Language Policy (1988), the 1996 Oakland Ebonics Resolution, and various movements against English First or the English Only movements that limit access to bilingual education.
Yes indeed, these were milestones for the addlebrained. For mentally starved Congoids everywhere, these were their “Stonewalls” (if they were even aware of them, which I doubt). Now they can breathe freely, knowing that their stupidity will be accepted and rewarded.
It be our Edmund Pettus Bridge, mudda fuddas!
Next they’ll start speaking in grunts and gestures like those apes at the beginning of the movie 2001. Soon after that, they’ll start speaking in made-up words that have no meaning whatsoever even to themselves.
And they will be idiots: in the most literal sense possible.
* * *
The great Andrew Hamilton, in his meditation on the concept of “Know-Nothingism,” wrote:
The term now denotes, even in the dictionary, one who knows little or nothing (noun), or, when used as an adjective, extreme ignorance. Commonly castigated as “Know Nothingism” is any opposition to anti-White racism, replacement migration, genocidal governmental policies or academic schools of thought, Communism — basically, anything sanctified as politically correct.
Yes, “know-nothingism,” along with “xenophobe” and “nativist,” is the go-to slur against White people who stand up for their own kind. But we know enough to know when we’re threatened, and we know more than enough to want to live.
But the Inoues of this world really are know-nothings, and in the worst sense possible. They exalt ignorance at every step, they give ignorance an A — and anyone who can or will make distinctions or perceive real quality is labeled a “fascist.” They laud the knowing of nothing; they say knowing nothing is a good thing, certainly every bit as good as knowing something. Kant said, “Dare to know!” — but they think he’s just a Dead White Male. They don’t dare. And are proud to wallow in being dense, obtuse, and benighted.
Not they, that’s for sure.
The sewer-worthy program this guy is preaching really is the latest revolt against civilization; the umbrage of the underman. It leads to drivel like this:
In today’s climate of neo-lynching in the form of stand your ground and police brutality, continued desecration of Native Americans’ sacred lands, and hatred of African Americans, Latinx, Asians, Native Americans, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, antiracist language and literacy educators must be vigilant and aware.
That is “anti-racism”‘s everything but the kitchen sink. They’re throwing whatever is at hand against the wall to see if it will stick. Of course, the whole lot of it just slowly slides down the wall as it slimes it.
* * *
But it turns out in a larger respect Asao Inoue, professor of rhetoric and composition at Arizona State University, and anti-racist big-wig, is correct. He’s not correct in the way he means it, but he is correct. He is correct to say that grammar is racist. He is correct to say that quality is intimidating, that knowledge is oppressive, that the habits of White language are a gauge of White superiority. Tree-lined neighborhoods are “racist,” too; as are roads. They are racist because they are examples of how White people throughout history have worked to improve the world, to use their incomparable ingenuity to master it. That, of course, is our glory. And how could the race vermin of the world experience these things as anything but frightening? Any being which strives ever upward for excellence and achieves it will always be so to those who cannot. In the darkness of their minds, and in the blackness of their race-souls, such mental powers will always leave them in the shade. So drink deep from those clear-running streams of exquisite English while you can, savor their effortless smoothness before it’s too late, before the mud people wade into them and blacken them forever. Because if they get their way the King’s will never be the same.
* * *