Teaching grammar the politically correct way

Felicie C. writes:

I just wanted to share something amusing I discovered. While browsing the Internet in search for online grammar sites, I stumbled upon the site grammar.ccc.commnet. They have many useful quizzes, where they use characters with politically correct names. The names are supposed to signal ethnicity.

Here, for example, is a quiz on parallel structure: One character is called “Professor Ali,” another, Mr Nguyen. There is also Tashonda, who is featured in several different quizzes. In this quiz, we are told that “Tashonda learned to read poems critically and to appreciate good prose.” I find the use of this name both galling and hilarious. The reader gets it that “coach Espinoza” is supposed to be Latino, “Professor Ali” a Middle Easterner, and “Mr. Nguyen” an Asian. Following the same logic (ironically, we are looking at the examples of parallel structure), Tashonda must be African-American. Why can’t an African-American woman be called Anna or Elizabeth? Why must we uncritically reproduce and reinforce illiterate and ridiculous names?

Incidentally, I googled “Tashonda” to make sure that the name actually exists. It sure does. The search even produced five photographs of five different Tashondas. What was funny was that of the five pictures, three were police mug shots. In the quiz, however, Tashonda “learned to read poems critically.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 03, 2012 12:27 PM | Send

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