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Drug Enforcement Administration Seeking Ebonics Translators

By Leeds Brown Law | August 31, 2010

The DEA has issued a request for translators in 114 languages, including Ebonics. The Linguistic Society of America says Ebonics a valid dialect in which Ebonics is “a language form we have a need for,” the DEA says.  Critics are concerned about racial profiling resulting from assumptions made from a speaker’s dialect.  However, Ebonics is no longer spoken only by African-Americans, since many hold it to be an “urban language” or “street language.”   The term “Ebonics” is a blend of “ebony” and “phonics” which was a term coined in 1996, when in Oakland, California, the Unified School District proposed using it in teaching English. After controversy arose, the school board voted to alter the plan to recognize Ebonics as a distinct language.  The revised plan removed reference to Ebonics as “genetically based” or as a “primary language” of students.  The Linguistic Society of America, in a 1997 resolution, stated that, “Characterizations of Ebonics as ‘slang,’ ‘mutant,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘defective,’ ‘ungrammatical’ or ‘broken English’ are incorrect and demeaning”.  U.S. English, a political advocacy group, which supports the DEA’s recruitment, made a statement saying, “Having somebody to explain slang terms … spoken by a particular community is an advantage if it allows them to understand a conversation”.  See: http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/24/dea.ebonics/index.html?hpt=T2

Many laws and government agencies seek to protect against discrimination. Such laws and agencies incude: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  Specifically, they are intended to protect people from being treated differently by employers on the basis of their age, race, gender, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation and other factors. These important laws do not always stop discrimination from occurring, but offer aggrieved members of protected classes of people a method to obtain justice.

The attorneys at Leeds Morelli & Brown, P.C., dedicate a large amount of their practice to discrimination claims.  For any questions, contact an attorney at the Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-800-585-4658. Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C.’s website is located at www.lmblaw.com.

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