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“Is This English?” Race, Language, and Culture in the Classroom

reviewed by Carmen Kynard - 2004

coverTitle: “Is This English?” Race, Language, and Culture in the Classroom
Author(s): Bob Fecho
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN: 0807744077, Pages: 173, Year: 2004
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In 1979, James Baldwin published the essay, “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” When I first heard of Bob Fecho’s book,“Is This English?” Race, Language, and Culture in the Classroom, Baldwin ’s title reverberated in my head. I was expecting to find a book whose central, guiding question, “Is This English?”, would challenge many current assumptions about the languages, content, and pedagogies appropriate for an English classroom. I was not disappointed when I finally read the book. What is English? According to whom and in what contexts? These questions guide Fecho’s work. Baldwin closed this seminal 1979 essay raising important issues about the history of race in this country. He argued that conversations about Black children’s language rest intimately inside of White political aims and a repudiation of the specific cultural, social, and psychological experiences of Black children. Given this history, it is no coincidence that Fecho begins his book by situating himself as a white teacher.... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 12, 2004, p. 2350-2358
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11344, Date Accessed: 9/24/2021 8:39:22 PM

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About the Author
  • Carmen Kynard
    Medgar Evers College, The City University of New York
    E-mail Author
    CARMEN KYNARD is an instructor at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York in the Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy where she is currently teaching Freshman Composition, the Sociology of Urban Education, and the Spoken Word in African American Written Texts. Her latest publication can be found in Teaching English Today: Advocating Change in the Secondary Curriculum published by Teachers College Press. She is currently completing her dissertion at New York University entitled, Runnin’ With the Rabbits but Huntin’ With the Dogs: A Historicization of Educational Discourses and Theories Pertaining to African American Language and Literacy Since the 1970s.
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