My research engages archival newsprint discourse through a critical discourse analysis toward identifying the origins and multifunctionality of the discourse. Specifically, I examine New York Times and Chicago Defender newsprint discourse surrounding African American English from 1970 – 2000. This time period holds bookend media explosions focused ostensibly on failing “instructional approaches” for teaching African American English (AAE) speaking youth to read and write, therefore leaving them without access to mainstream English, a tragedy John Baugh calls “educational malpractice.” Both the 1979 “Black English” court ruling and the 1996 Oakland school board resolution addressed persistent educational disparity amongst AAE speakers, particularly in literacy. Newsprint reporting framed the incidences, contributing to public perception of the language and its speakers, and contributing as well to the ongoing discursive construction of this language and its people. This study queries the development and multifunctionalities of the newsprint discourse, holding steady the absence of national educational policy around this concern since the historical disparity was identified.
Black Women and Communication
November 15, 2010, on a panel with esteemed scholars at the National Communication Association's 96th Annual Convention, I presented my thesis that early Black Feminists thinkers evolved from the American philosophical tradition, placing them in dialog with early American Pragmatist thinkers and recasting their contributions to the development of the nation. This was my contribution to the research project of continuing to elucidate Black Women's communication and intellectual thought.
Dr. Karla Scott (St. Louis University), chaired the panel entitled: "Still building 'This Bridge': Black Women's Studies in Communication." The title is a nod toward the overall convention title "Building Bridges," while paying homage to Moraga and Anzaldua's This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Dr. Scott began the panel with acknowledgements from Dr. Marsha Houston whom she had culled out of happy retirement long enough to address our ongoing efforts to research and address Black Women's communication - a focus she long held and lead - in effect to pass the baton and herald the need for ongoing research in this area.
With Dr. Houston's blessings, and before an engaged audience of fellow scholars, we outlined our areas of research as follows:
“Ways, Words, and the Language of Home: What we do and (still) don’t know about Black women’s communication.” Karla D. Scott, Saint Louis University & Kerry Wilson, Saint Louis University
“Standing in the Gap: Narrative as a Bridge to Black Women’s Lived Experience.” Olga Idriss Davis, Arizona State University
“Michelle Obama’s Womanist White House: Womentoring in and Beyond the East Wing.” Toniesha L. Taylor, Prairie View A&M University
“Black Feminisms and American pragmatism, building dialogical bridges.” Mariama M. Changamire Shaw, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Munitions, Maneuvers and Marching: Oral history bridge building celebrating the power of African American Military Service Women narratives.” Liz Desnoyers-Colas, Armstrong Atlantic State University
We look forward to continuing this research and to keeping the dialog going...
*Look for Black Feminist Thought Resources on my Resources page.