I’ve taught freshman composition courses for almost two years now, expecting my diverse body of students from multicultural backgrounds to all coalesce and perform to one standard above all others: White Vernacular English (WVE) or White American Vernacular English (WAVE). As writers, we pride ourselves on being open-minded yet authentic, and we hope our students do the same—as long as they adhere to what we consider valid style of writing. Why have the rigid, outdated principles the foundation of college composition was built on not shifted to accept other vernaculars?
by Sarah Knapp
The above videos contain clips from two very different, but two very popular TV shows: RuPaul’s Drag Race and Steven Universe. What do all of these seemingly unrelated scenarios have in common? In each clip, there are quite a few different uses of pronouns, some of which seem confusing or don’t exactly fit our expectations. There is a powerful force at work here: gender is being redefined. Subtly, and sometimes very overtly, the language used to talk about gender is being changed and shaped by the media that surrounds us.
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