John H. McWhorter teaches linguistics, American studies, and music history at Columbia University. He is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and host of the language podcast Lexicon Valley. His writing has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Daily Beast, New Republic, The Root, and many other venues. McWhorter is the author of over twenty books, including Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter—Then, Now and Forever, The Power of Babel, Losing the Race, and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue.
Linguists have been studying Black English as a speech variety for years, arguing to the public that it is different from Standard English, not a degradation of it. Yet false assumptions and controversies still swirl around what it means to speak and soun...[SEE MORE]