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The English Department recently released a new clause that encourages diversity and is more inclusive of all races and dialects. 

Diversity and embracing cultural values are the standards and tribulations that our country is built on. Las Positas has always strongly encouraged that individualism and culture. 

With that being said, it only makes sense to erase discrimination in regards to the way someone speaks or writes English. The new clause released by the English Heads states:

“The Las Positas English Department values and celebrates all dialects of English. No dialect of English, including “Standard” Edited American English, is superior to another; to treat one as superior or “correct” perpetuates structural racism. Powerful and original writing comes from authentic and diverse voices.  We strive to teach all students to communicate clearly and effectively in their own voices. We also acknowledge the value of teaching Edited American English as a tool for students to reach certain academic and career goals.”

“The English Department is very proud of the statement,” said Professor Maureen O’Herin. 

The usage of terms like “professional English” can be considered racist and derogatory to those who are at less of an advantage of speaking the language. By creating this clause, Las Positas is another step closer to helping eliminate discrimination by starting small, on campus. 

Professor Steve Chiolis says “Instead of exhausted and harmful hierarchies, we need to include, uphold, and celebrate all our Englishes. There is great beauty in human communication, and we need a great variety of organic and edited Englishes to even begin to express the complexities of ourselves and our experiences. I am overjoyed that the statement recognizes and affirms the power of student voices. As professors, we have the great honor of reading and learning from the thoughts and voices of our students.  Our understandings also undergo development and change.  Our charge is to help empower and equip students on their unique educational journey.  We have more work to do, but it is the right work.  Education is for human beings: programming is for computers.”

Another statement regarding this by Professor Kisha Turner states: “The impetus for the statement was George Floyd, police violence, and the conversations about anti-Black racism specifically that led to conversations in the Department about English as a field of study and anti-Blackness. Many of these types of conversations were happening across a variety of sectors in Summer 2020, and I was adamant that English–a field born of Whiteness, colonialism, and a certain sensibility about non-White peoples–should not be left out.”

The bias about “proper English” can be viewed as having negative perceptions about other languages and ways of speaking. Other schools hopefully soon follow in the same footsteps as Las Positas and modernize their standards to fit and adapt to the ever-changing trends of the world. 

Renae Machuca is a staff writer for The Express. Follow her @renaeextra.

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