‘Linguistic White Supremacy’: The Left’s New Crusade Against the English Language

The fringe lens of critical pedagogy has swallowed today’s academia. Facts are deconstructed, logical reasoning is contorted, historical narratives are rewritten, and causality takes a back seat to the post-modernist project of affirming feelings and identities. Increasingly, words lose meaning and become weaponized for the sake of ideological conformity.

Cue the perennial abuse of “white supremacy.” The phrase’s original meaning of a belief system that White people are inherently superior to other races is now completely coopted with shapeshifting and ever-expanding connotations. Objectivity, a sense of urgency, perfectionism, and written words are characteristics of white supremacy culture. Getting married, like structural racism, bolsters white supremacy. Even soap dispensers perpetuate white supremacy.

The U.S. academia has now concocted an absurd proposition that speaking and writing proper English is a form of white supremacy. The term is “Linguistic White Supremacy (LWS)” or “White Language Supremacy (WLS),” depending on where you look.

According to the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), a membership-based professional association for “diverse communicators inside and outside of postsecondary classrooms,”

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. It imposes a worldview that is simultaneously pro-white, cisgender, male, heteronormative, patriarchal, ableist, racist, and capitalist … WLS is, thus, structural and usually a part of the standard operating procedures of classrooms, disciplines, and professions …WLS perpetuates many forms of systemic and structural violence.

CCC goes on to outline the characteristics of WLS as “habits of white language,” including: “individualism,” “stance of neutrality, objectivity, and apoliticality,” “rational, controlled self,” “rule-governed, contractual relationships,” “clarity, order, and control.” In other words, good virtues and values, with roots in the Age of the Enlightenment, are just learned habits of white supremacists.

For the Metropolitan State University of Denver, “Linguistic White Supremacy,” which is equated with standard American English, permeates every facet of higher education, such as writing, grading, teaching, and campus life. There is no “correct” or “standard” way to write and speak in American English. The standard version is “a social construct that privileges white communities and maintains social and racial hierarchies.” To combat linguistic white supremacy, educators must grade with equity, keeping “grammar and mechanics to less than 10% of the overall grade.”

Similarly, professors should also adopt restorative approaches to plagiarism, allowing students to rewrite the essay, removing penalties for late assignments, and even abstaining from using an originality checker at all. According to opponents of linguistic white supremacy, plagiarism is an excusable plea for help and a courageous act of defiance. After all, students may be unable to speak or write standard American English because they don’t understand the citation system, come from a country “that believes that copying other people’s work is an homage to that person,” or lack the confidence. The woke bigotry of low expectations is on full display here.

To put it in plain English, teachers should cut students, especially those who are not White and therefore underprivileged, some slacks if they plagiarize or make grammatical errors in writing. Giving penalties is simply inequitable and racist.

A pair of faculty members from the University of Southern California School of Education coins the term “linguistic racism” as “the mistreatment, devaluation, and acts of discrimination towards people based on their language use or perceptions about their ethnicities.” The researchers proceed to advise immigrants to make a conscious effort to keep their accents and honor their own grammar structures in defiance of the mistreatment from native speakers of English.

Approximately 43 million U.S. adults possess low literacy skills and two-thirds of whom are U.S.-born, 35 percent are white and Hispanic. This new crusade against standard English is only going to make things worse. We all know what will happen when parents and other authority figures fail to provide structure and enforce discipline for children. The antiracist business of fighting linguistic white supremacy infantilizes young college students and feeds them a fat big lie by trivializing the importance of mastering reading, writing, and speaking English.

I don’t know who needs to hear this: As a first-generation immigrant whose native language can’t be more different than English, I pride myself on steadily improving my spoken and written language skills. It makes life for myself and those I interact with more pleasant and less confusing. More importantly, it is infinitely more empowering than trying to fit the world around me into the surmountable limitations of a language barrier.

The irony is not lost when subscribers to the antiracism dogma can’t live up to their own expectations. Recently, my colleague—also a Chinese immigrant—mispronounced the Spanish last name “Jimenez” at a local school board meeting when he publicly commented on academic transparency and accountability. Instead of showing tolerance towards this linguistic mistake, the school board’s most progressive trustee immediately mocked my colleague.

When it comes to battling systemic linguistic white supremacy, the warriors only want “rules for thee, not for me.”

Image: Screenshot of USC Rossier School of Education Article. 


33 thoughts on “‘Linguistic White Supremacy’: The Left’s New Crusade Against the English Language

  1. So, Spanish must also be a white supremacist language because it originated in…you know…Spain…a European country.

  2. Sorry- just wanted to point out that I DO know how to use paragraphs — for some reason, my comment posted as a “wall of print.”

  3. Heh. Used to teach special ed in a relatively small city (40,000?) with a population of students that was about half black and half Appalachian White. I used to pick up English essays from the copy room that the reg ed English teachers had copied and left there–would take them down to our room, where our kids would use them to practice proofing and editing…(Yes, blanked out the names.)

    Since the reg ed teachers often ignored Standard English, we’d have pages full of editing marks for essays marked A and B– OUR students knew better, as they were taught that — like your clothing — you “code-switch” — meaning you talk and write differently in the workplace (and school) than with your friends. It was good teaching sped, as with EIPs (Individual Education Plans), you didn’t have to teach the standard curriculum in any subject– it was based on needs.

    So they learned state capitals, could find world cities on maps and globes, memorized multiplication tables and yes, with a little bit of reminding, spoke and wrote in Standard English. If those “educators” were smart enough to read books like “Streetwise,” by Elijah Anderson (and others), they would know about “code-switching” and how important it is for those from other cultures.

    Only one person was ever offended — a white teacher’s aide, haha—- because I told kids “Fair or not, people treat you differently when you don’t speak Standard English. They tend to think you’re not very smart.” (Guess I wasn’t very smart–that aide, an Ozarkian whose English was atrocious, helped get me fired. Guess I wasn’t smart enough to know he was put in there to spy on the new teacher from out of the area.)

  4. The English language, when properly written or spoken, is so beautiful in its ability to express the full range of man’s thoughts, feelings and ideas.

    Given that much of the world has adopted English as their second language, isn’t rather counterproductive to attempt to change that now? Isn’t being able to understand each other and clearly communicate likely to foster a more congenial world, wherein matters can be discussed rather than assumed?

    We sometimes mention the fabled Red Button for the President. What if there was no set definition of red? Which one to press or not press among all those buttons?

    No, this Academia and their bandwagon are not interested in anything that could united people. Their interests are to divide and hope to conquer.

    America has been the successful melting pot of people from all over the world for centuries, and one reason is because when people from all over the world came here, they learned a common (and eloquent) language. One in which, their thoughts, hopes, aspirations, and knowledge could be expressed and understood by all. What a devolution it would be to undermine that concept.

    Finally, how could educators even dare to say this? Haven’t schools been integrated for years? Don’t schools offer many options for non-English students to help them in their acquisition of America’s language?

    This is not because of a failure of the English language, this can be laid squarely at the feet of public education, K through college. That one finger pointing at ‘white supremacy’ leaves three fingers pointing back at themselves. It seems they may have students who are deficient in speaking/writing English, but this Academia seem to have trouble thinking in English – or any other language, I suspect.

  5. Language is THE CORE means of communications, whether written or oral. (that’s why “legalese” is used, i.e, to express a concept precisely). A bastardized language is what now makes people unable to communicate. I have several grand kids, and even the ONE that pays attention in school is often hard to decipher (also due to lazy speech). I’ve been telling them all since the were about four years old, read, but just as or more important is to write/compose. People must understand what you’re attempting to convey. (or you end up with a career” at Walmart)

    “Education” doesn’t want to “discriminate” against the lesser talented with language, and because government runs “education, ” they don’t want you to be fluent. The more inept you are, the more dependent you will be, so the rulers can provide you with “free stuff.” You become more easy to control.

    DAILY is see headlines in many publications that cause me to think “what are they trying to say?”

    It’s NOT accidental that American have become so dependent.

    1. I agree with you whole heartedly, 100%. I think we should do away with public schools and give vouchers to parents to decide how to educate their children. The govt should be left out of their lives as much as possible. I know this was an idea that had been floated around. Maybe it’s high time for a serious discussion of what’s to come of our failing school system.

  6. this is what happens when the feds flood the colleges and universities with halfwit students borrowing gobs of money to pay for useless degrees in Liberal Arts. I long for the days when college and air travel were out of the reach of the average person.

  7. As a white Southerner who attended a HBCU in the deep south in the mid-seventies, just astounded at what’s been happening in the US now. Just flabbergasted at the ideological cult that has taken over the left (of which I once was), and now see as the real threat to the US.
    God help us all.

  8. It is absurd to categorize all pushback against Existentialism as “white supremacy”, especially given that this poisonous philosophy itself was largely invented by whites, and harms non-whites disproportionately.

  9. When one is too lazy or stupid to be able to learn the appropriate use of words try to cover these deficiencies by claiming it is bad to learn proper English. Sheesh.

  10. Proper English is just one factor that makes us superior. Ebonics is just one factor that keeps you inferior.

  11. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” ― Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass“

  12. Dr. Allove – The cult of academia: Or how I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my GED 😉
    Good luck to all!

  13. Proper English is white supremacy? Last I looked, there were several groups of “white” people who do not speak English as their native language. Maybe the French or the Danes would be surprised to find out that, by this theory, they must be people of color.

    1. I lived in Spain in the ’60’s. Although I spoke Spanish imperfectly, locals appreciated that I was trying to learn and use the language correctly and they were always willing to help me. My efforts helped me to fit in. My wife’s grandparents came here from Italy. They were so proud to be Americans they would not allow any language to be spoken in their home except English. Proper English.

    2. When my grandparents came here in 1900, they learned to speak english properly, educate their children and to assimilate into society. Too bad these are no longer the goals of most immigrants and a great many minorities that were born here.

  14. The flip side of white supremacy is black inferiority. (Focus must always remain on black people as no other race matters to the left.) Absurdly stating that a growing number of cultural and even inanimate objects are symbols of white supremacy, necessarily implies that blacks are inferior and incapable of functioning in a modern society. Isn’t that what they really mean to say?

    1. There are now only 6 words left in the English language that aren’t deemed racist. Time to quit caring.

  15. Good language-in this case, English-is important to health and other aspects of society.
    Chemistry is pretty exact in formulations. If an aspiring chemist is off on a certain amount
    due to faulty reading, it could be disastrous. Dr.s and lawyers and pharmacists, for exam-ple, could be in big trouble for reading or writing something wrong. It could affect patients
    or clients, in health and in finances. Messing with language is hard on society, just to make a few happy. Like ‘speed,’ it can kill. Nuf sed

    fch sends

  16. This idea of the English language as oppressive began in the field of sociolinguistics on the heels of William Labov’s “Black English”, published in the 1970s. Specifically, grammatical structure was deemed oppressive both for racial reasons and pedagogical ones. In the late 70s and early 80s, Applied Linguistics “guru”, Steve Krashen, made a career out of the rejection of grammar teaching in the language classroom, based on an ass-backward interpretation of Noam Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device (LAD). Krashen was enthusiastically embraced by foreign language teachers desperate to get away from the audio-lingual method (ALM), a system developed at the Monterey School of Languages for the training of spies. ALM was very structurally based with lots of repetition, and it was perhaps best known for its success in producing speakers with little “accent”. But it was stultifying for teachers who felt there was little room for creativity in the relentless focus on grammatical repetition. Grammar became the enemy, and for over a decade, textbooks focused less on grammar and more on interaction. In ESL teaching, grammar teaching was not only a pedagogical error but also “intolerant” toward recent immigrants and foreign students. In English language teaching for African American students, there was brief flirtation in the 1990s with teaching “Ebonics” in the classroom.
    Grammar eventually returned–because it had to. You can’t make students ready for college-level writing by ignoring grammar and structure. However, it seems that a new generation of “scholars”–who haven’t bothered to look at the past forty years or so — have decided that grammar is “white supremacy”, a term developed when it became obvious that real racism was well on the decline in the US. “White supremacy” is a convenient term for Marxists because in indicts society, not the individual. And, according to the article, this newest wrinkle in the grammar debate is really about ensuring that students with low English language skills don’t fail out of college. The most identifiable group, of course, is African American students whose SATS often fall well below the university norms. But another important demographic is the foreign student who pays full freight. Universities are growing dependent on the tuition dollars of students from different parts of Asia, and any plagiarizing they do needs to be ignored to keep those dollars coming in. This is what happens when you make school a business.

  17. This started years ago when suddenly you couldn’t say “colored people” but instead had to say “people of color”. Well, do we say ‘gee, there is a dog of tired’ or ‘gee, there is a tired dog’? Or ‘there is a fancy car of red’ instead of ‘there is a fancy red car’?

    I always thought in English adjectives proceed nouns. Apparently no longer.

  18. As someone who struggled to express himself in the literate form expected of college freshman (Columbia College 1961), I sympathize with those calling for cutting such students some slack. But sympathy doesn’t help. One needs to struggle through the challenge to be understood – if the objective is to be understood. Perhaps the best argument against WLS is arrghh, ecchhh, boo, bad. Otherwise, those critics would have to use WLS and/or its literate analogs in other cultures, historical contexts and even AI models.

  19. “WLS assists white supremacy by using language to control reality”

    Language does not control reality. “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
    –Phillip K. Dick

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