[TW: Real Life] UCLA professor was called racist, and guilty of a “micro-aggression” against black students for correcting grammar and spelling issues on their papers. A protest was organized and students claim the professor has created a hostile climate on campus for his actions.

[TW: Real Life] UCLA professor was called racist, and guilty of a “micro-aggression” against blac...

I wish I could say that this is the first time I've heard about a black student calling a professor racist for not accepting papers in AAVE. Even if you're going to argue that AAVE is acceptable in academia, which it's not, that doesn't excuse spelling an punctuation mistakes. It just doesn't. All that using AAVE would justify is improper diction and usage, as in "she be..." instead of "she is...", not "she be gwine Ta da stow." That's just being fucking illiterate.

It's not like I can write my papers in a mix of Italian, polish, Yiddish, and the slang I use and call anyone who corrects me racist, even though that's the way I speak among my friends and family. When writing for an academic setting, you use one language, and you use the proper form thereof. I guarantee the syllabus specifies that the students must use English in their written work, and no, AAVE doesn't count.

How the hell do you get, what was it, 25 students to support this?

One idiot, fine, I get it, hell, even five, a close group of idiots friends.

How the hell do you get 25 people to protest, in a school, about what schools are about? Learning and correcting mistakes.

I'm honestly speechless, the amount of mental gymnastics for that one is making my brain lag.

AAVE is a recognised dialect of English, just as formal British RP is, or a Texan dialect. But just like any dialect, you don't write a bloody academic paper in it. I speak a dialect of British English, but I don't write "ca" instead of "car" in my papers simply because my accent doesn't pronounce [ɹ] there. A formal standard style is used for academic texts, in the same way that everyone uses their informal dialect when speaking amongst friends. It's a matter of register.

African American Vernacular English. So yes, it's an American thing.

Also sometimes known as ebonics, AFAIK.

Black Grammar Errors Matter

hold on, they're GRADUATE students? How did they pass the GRE, let alone get into a grad program, if they insist that AAVE (or any other dialect, honestly) has a place in academic literature/writing on acting like entitled assholes?

Hands up, don't grade

I'm not surprised you can find enough idiots on a college campus these days to support any idiotic "cause". What surprises me it that the fucking DEAN throws out all notion of common sense to support this particular idiotic "cause".

The dean has now opened Pandoras Box. Regardless of what the rules state regarding acceptable conduct in academic paper writing, that can now be used by any special interest group to complain whenever their jimmies are rustled to get special priviledge to write however they damn well please.

Congratulations to these idiotic students. Their degree is no longer a merit to their learning and progress, but a worthless piece of paper showing they forced their way through the system without learning what they came for.

Rather than risking being labeled as a "racist institution" which is likely why the dean capitulated, he has now devalued UCLA entirely and made it one more step closer to a diploma-mill.

So basically black slang and they want an excuse to not have to learn proper english?

So would it be equivalent for a Texan to say it's discriminatory for a professor to not accept "Howdy pardner, let's rustle up y'all and have a discussion about 'Merican hist'ry!"

As a Texan yes this is how I always speak.

But obviously when communicating with yall Yankees I do tone it down some.

Not only were they graduate students, they were education majors.

What's AAVE? That's honestly one of the first time I've heard of that, maybe its just an america thing?

No learns only feels.

bless your heart

Shots fired

Its really easy. Write properly or your paper gets marked down. No racism involved.


Unless this class is free-form writing or poetry, then AAVE just isn't acceptable. If the professor accepted it, he'd fail at preparing his students for the real world where writing academically correct is the only acceptable way. If you want to write a novel or something like that in AAVE, that's absolutely fine, but no boss is going to keep someone who writes reports with numerous grammatical and punctuation errors.

Affirmative action.

It depends on context. Any dialect is valid and correct as long as both speaker and listener understand it. But academic language is structured in such a way as to be a dialect unto itself so that there is no ambiguity or being misunderstood.

I don't think they know the difference between criticism and racism...

Thanks I read the whole thing. It must have been awful for the professors especially the 79 year old Prof. Rust to be a victim of what can only be described as an organised campaign of bullying by a small group of students who have feel they have the automatic right to preferential treatment despite a lack of academic achievement or dedication to improving their work.

It's disgusting of the University to not back up the professors but I can kind of see how if they did it could it could cause a riot, but never the less they should.

And it isn't even an attack at AAVE. Unless you (the collective you) speak with perfect grammar and without the use of slang, you need to understand that your paper should be much, much classier than the kind of language you use with friends.

"So, like, Hitler was a complete jackass to the Jews and it was so fucked up that people had to leave their house in the middle of the night and shit so their family wouldn't be attacked and shit."

Who the fuck is going to accept that kind of paper?

Criticism is me telling you that you're wrong.

Hate is you telling me I'm wrong.

Strange. Their public statement didn't contain any of those errors or dialect markers:

“A hostile campus climate has been the norm for Students of Color in this class throughout the quarter as our epistemological and methodological commitments have been repeatedly questioned by our classmates and our instructor. The barrage of questions by white colleagues and the grammar ‘lessons’ by the professor have contributed to a hostile class climate.”

Fucking hypocrites.

This seems a bit more detailed

As word of the sit-in spread in the press and on the Internet, the administration began its sacrifice of Rust. Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco sent around a pandering e-mail to faculty and students, announcing that he had become “aware of the last of a series of troubling racial climate incidents at UCLA, most recently associated with [Rust’s class]”—thus conferring legitimacy on the preposterous claim that there was anything racially “troubling” about Rust’s management of his class. Suárez-Orozco went on: “Rest assured I take this extremely seriously. I humbly dedicate myself to listening and to learning from this experience. As a community, we will work towards just, equitable, and lasting solutions. Together, we shall heal.”

Of course, the very idea of taking “this” “extremely seriously” presupposes that there was something to be taken seriously and solved, as opposed to a mere outburst of narcissistic victimhood. The administration announced that Rust would not teach the remainder of the class by himself but would be joined by three other professors, one of whom, Daniel Solórzano, was the school’s leading proponent of microaggression theory and critical race theory. This reorganization implicitly confirmed the charge that Rust was unfit to supervise “graduate students of color.”

The article is really long. But it gets worse than what I quoted.

These are SJWs. Why would they bother with making sense?

The actual grammar correction that set them off was Rust's statement that "indigenous" does not n... Since this meant he disapproved of their consistent use of the capitalized "Indigenous" in their papers, they interpreted this as hostility towards indigenous peoples AND hostility towards the people capitalizing it. Because of course that makes sense.

He also made them use the Chicago Manual of Style format for citations, but the students "felt that the less formal American Psychological Association conventions better reflected their ... These kids have politicized citation format.

AAVE was actually not involved.

To be fair, I'm an actual southerner, and I have a helluva time understandin' y'all.

Bless your heart.

I find it bizarre that AAVE is a thing to begin with. It's just butchered English. I can understand people of any race when they articulate their words.

Albert Einstein was wicked fucking smart kid. His theory of relativity was the best thing since Bobby fuckin' Orr won his first Cup.

Bless your heart.

Well fuck you too. I know what bless your heart means in the south.

You hit the nail on the head. The main problem here isn't that the dean supported this, it's that he set a precedent. Now their International Student Association can say, "You corrected our stuff, and not their papers. Are you racist? I bet you're racist."

For academic works you use proper english though. I'm from Boston, I do not use "wicked" in papers as it is slang, rather than proper english.

This kind of shit cannot become the norm.

A mistake plus keleven gets you home by seven.

I've been googling to see if I can get an update on what happened to the professor, does anyone know? It would be a shame if he was actually reprimanded for this.

Ethnic background, GPA, high admittance rate (odd grad program maybe), knowing a professor, parents that didn't go to college, came from poverty, etc.

You think that makes it more unbelievable, but it's the opposite. The education majors are probably the bottom of the barrel at my university, bar none.

Well fuck you too

You really don't, because it doesn't mean "Fuck you."

It means that he understands you're trying your best...despite your obvious shortcomings. He knows you meant well, even though chance hasn't seen fit to provide you the ability to make those intentions real.

Your heart is good, even if your actions haven't measured up to those desires.

Literally, "God bless your good intentions."

Or, bless your heart.

People think it's an insult because it's the kind of thing you say about likable morons. But you say it about likable morons because it's so tragic that such good people have to be afflicted with such a dim intellect.

I teach college English.

The only class I've ever taken about teaching (my degrees are not in education, but creative writing) was required for all graduate assistants. It was basically the majority of training we got to be teaching college classes.

We spent a large percentage of that class learning about and discussing AAVE, much of it was liberal hand-wringing about how white kids from the burbs can just write papers in their native language while black kids have to learn a second language in order to sound academic, and therefore we should grade papers based on their ideas/content and ignore grammar/syntax errors. I tried to point out that white kids in the burbs don't talk in academic speech, and that almost no teenagers sound like academic papers when they speak, but that didn't seem to make much difference.

It might sound okay in theory to grade only on content, you should do that for all students then. How is it fair if I grade down the white suburban kids for grammar mistakes? So the result if you actually follow through is that you have zero impact on how well your students can write in proper English. Thus the net effect would be black students graduating with a bachelors degree who still can't write in proper English.

I argue that this is actually detrimental for the students. They are making the effort to go to college so they can get a career. If we don't do anything to help them improve their language, then they will get their diploma and head out into the world still unable to write competently.

Here is an actual e-mail written by a person with a master's degree:

"The meeting will be held at XXXX if there is other that will be involved please bring with please send an email when you are available times for next week if that works. This are topics we should be discussing has they happen so please everyone bring this topics or issues up so that they can be discussed."

Imagine reading a cover letter / resume that looks like this, or worse.

Also, if you're an atheist, don't be obvious about it.

I think you mean obnoxious because most people around here don't give a fuck.

UCLA? Affirmative action.

No, I was banned previously but this computer still logs me into this account. I was banned for being a jerk

I don't think anyone here has a problem with speaking, though. It's not really about speech, or how someone talks. It's about how they write.

You're supposed to write in a refined way. See that article you just quoted? That's how things should be written. It's clear and well-expressed. Not using proper grammar or spelling, or even just spelling, is where it becomes a major issue.

so what they're saying is that black people are too stupid to expect proper grammar from them

Someone needs to x-post this to /sub/nottheonion

Writing papers is like, wicked hahd.

Black Grammatical Errors Matter. Adjective form.

Ugh, I haven't even had my coffee yet and I'm already angry. Maybe I shouldn't come here in the mornings...

I wonder how such people make it into university with poor writing skills?

Actually, they didn't use any AAVE or nonstandard dialects in their writing. It's much much stupider than that.

TL;DR: They were using awkward, clunky, SJW-ese writing in their papers, were capitalizing words like "indigenous" for no goddamn reason, and were using APA citations when the instructor clearly required Chicago Manual of Style citations. When the instructor objected to the fact that their sentences were so obtuse and confusing as to be unreadable, insisted that "indigenous" remain uncapitalized", and requested that they follow his instructions re: citations, they protested, complete with an incoherent rambling Day of Action statement and a similarly hard to follow online petition.

Wicked fahkin hahd.

How the fuck did they even get into a UC? I'm busting my balls out here and I'm not sure if I can even make it into a CSU...

Oh, that hurts

I had to google AAVE as I've never heard about it before; what a fucking joke lol. In a formal academic setting, you write in fucking Standard English. I recently finished my PhD in applied math and it's 220 pages long; maybe I should submit the final version in one of these dialects and see what the graduate office has to say!

All I can think about is how bad I feel for the prof. All those years of hard work tarnished by young narcissists. If anything, HE'S the victim here!

You underestimate the college aged kids to latch on to every social justice movement without understanding.

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To clarify, the professors corrected the spelling and grammar on student papers and some of those students were black, in the end he got fired and another "more appropriate" teacher took his place.

Racist! Love you flair btw.

Christ, my soul hurts.

The shitstorm arose because the intention was largely misunderstood. AAVE uses verb tenses very differently from standard American English, and the district wanted teachers to explicitly point out those conflicts, similar to the way ESL students would be taught "In Spanish you do [x]. The equivalent in English is [y]." It made a lot of sense, from a linguistics stand point.

But of course as soon as the news got hold of it, it turned into "Oakland declares Ebonics its own language and will teach black children in it instead of good old American!" So stupid.

Holy shit, my bad. That's just incredibly stupid. I apologize for my assumption.

Your second point never occurred to me, but you're absolutely right.

Practically nobody speaks "proper" English. Your native dialect might be closer or further from what's expected in a paper, but the fact is that nobody writes like they talk. Contractions alone blow that idea out of the water, and I don't know of a dialect that doesn't use contractions.

These AAVE-speaking students are in the exact same boat as everyone else, yet they're complaining that it's unfair. SJWs wave "all dialects are legitimate" around as if it's some profound bit of enlightenment that automatically makes them correct, but it's their misunderstanding of how dialects work that is at fault.

Everyone is bringing up AAVE, but I looked into it further and nowhere is AAVE or Ebonics mentioned. This article at the Daily Caller said that the student capitalized indigenous. And this article at the City Journal said that the student capitalized indigenous and didn't use the ... The Examiner also mentions the student capitalized indigenous. Nowhere does the articles say it was because of AAVE or Ebonics. I mean, not even the article OP linked mentions AAVE or Ebonics.

Also sometimes known as ebonics, AFAIK.

Ebonics is the term that's been around in wide use since like... at least the 90s, though it dates back further. I remember it at least that far back when the educational system in Oakland declared it to be its own language and determined that black kids used "ebonics" as their native language, not English, meaning that ESL learning techniques had to be employed to teach them and improve their grades. The backlash shitstorm was phenomenal.

Not really sure when the term fell out of use and we started using "AAVE," though. I didn't hear that term until I started browsing this sub frequently over the last couple of years.

You have approx. 42 thousand students at UCLA that's less then 1 idiot per thousand. It's very easy.

Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco sent around a pandering e-mail to faculty and students, announcing that he had become “aware of the last of a series of troubling racial climate incidents at UCLA, most recently associated with [Rust’s class]”

I'm reminded of Patton Oswalt's tweets recently mocking the SJW reaction to the new Daily Show host;

(27/53) Parts 28 through 36 will simply be the word "Problematic" for your use in any other interpretation of the pronoun "he"

(28/53) Problematic.

(29/53) Problematic.

(30/53) Problematic.

(31/53) Problematic.

(32/53) Problematic.

(33/53) Problematic.

(34/53) Problematic.

(35/53) Problematic.

(36/53) Problematic.

(37/53) "See" is, we all know, VERY POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING to any seeing impaired or blind people hearing the joke.

Yeah, you really shouldn't. I came here as soon as I woke up once and it ruined my entire day.

I was always taught not to use contractions at all in a formal paper. So even though I day y'all, can't, won't, woulda, coulda, shoulda in my everyday speech, it would be completely inappropriate to include it in my paper.

It's not discriminatory, it's just proper English.

Fucking unbelievable, these people are discussing.

Must have laid the guilt on pretty thick. Guess after the first five or so nobody wanted to risk being called a racist along with the teacher.

I had to tone down my Alberta Redneck/Newfie industrial slang at college, and it wern't easy. It did cut down on the amount of swearing I did, and that's probably a good thing.

Let my shaver go to town!

Or an excuse for grade schools to get away with not teaching

"The meeting will be held at XXXX if there is other that will be involved please bring with please send an email when you are available times for next week if that works. This are topics we should be discussing has they happen so please everyone bring this topics or issues up so that they can be discussed."

Ow. That's worse than any non-native English speaker I know.

The only person good at it was Albit Einstein, he's wicked smaht.

I dunno. I think I'd classify it more as whining and pandering than discussing.

I hope it doesn't too, I just worry that I'm going to be disappointed.

Fight fire with fire. Mark the papers in Classical Latin.

Tensions arose over Rust’s insistence that students use the more academic Chicago Manual of Style for citation format; some students felt that the less formal American Psychological Association conventions better reflected their political commitments.

CMS is probably what most journals in their field use, which would be why their prof requires it--but it's more complicated and takes way more time and effort than APA, fine. I never enjoy doing CMS. But I do it because it's a stupid thing to lose points/publishing opportunities/etc on.

Rust is hardly the first professor to be criticized for his efforts to help students write. “Asking for better grammar is inflammatory in the school,” says an occasional T.A. “You have to give an A or you’re a racist.”

That's disgusting.

By SJW logic yes. By normal human logic, no, everyone is expected to write in standard English for academic work, including speakers of AAVE.

As a dialect, it's fully capable of expressing a full range of complex ideas and thoughts. It kind of has to be, because that's what native dialects do, period.

Saying that in order to talk about complex ideas, people must code-switch to a more standard dialect is crazy. People often do code-switch to a more standard dialect, but it has nothing to do with the complexity of the ideas, it has to do with the intended audience.

And that's what's called using your race as a crutch.

Hold up, where does it say that the paper was written in AAVE? Seriously, I couldn't find that. If you could point that out, I'd be appreciative.

My parents were education majors. Ph.D and a Masters.

It feels like someone has taken a shit in my heart.

But it IS wrong. I'm a New Yorker, I don't pronounce the R at the end of many words (wawta vs. water), but I still know to spell it w-a-t-e-r when writing. No one's saying it's wrong in casual conversation between peers, but in an academic context it's absolutely wrong and should be corrected. Local pronunciation and spelling are different things.

U Kant tell me how 2 live my life u Nazi cis scum

So we have 2 problems.

I'm a lazy black student and I don't want to learn how to speak properly, my slang and grammatical errors are just part of my language, see! Stop oppressing me and my 'culture'!

I'm a lazy teacher who doesn't want to go through and explain to these kids why this is all wrong, especially since I will have to do these corrections throughout the assignment and almost every assignment this student will hand in. Fuckit, its all correct now.

is it tough to write things without having a word or character for shooting your pistols into the air?

Some grad programs don't require the GRE admittedly. Mine required transcripts, recommendations, a personal essay, etc. but didn't require the GRE. Depends on the program.

Stupid people: Perpetuating harmful stereotypes about their race and gender since humans have existed!

I'm not a fan of this kind of nonsense, but as far as AAVE and cultural roots go, this article from the Economist has forced me to reconsider how angsty I get at hearing it.

Instead, scorn for those who talk different is given a cloak of respectability. Kids who go beyond accent and use dialectal or nonstandard forms—ain’t, gizzit, nowt double negatives—are politely told with the best wishes that Standard English is crucial to climbing the economic ladder. This happens to be true, too. Certain rules of grammar and standard vocabulary are expected in formal settings like the workplace. But people can easily use dialect and nonstandard forms in casual speech, and flip to Standard English when the situation requires. Rather than teaching this flipping as a skill, too many teachers find it simpler to attack nonstandard speech as simply “wrong”. And this is especially tempting with urban youth rather than the beloved dialectalisms of a Dorset farmer. But dialect (whether “Multicultural London English” or Dorset) is simply dialect, and no one is really any more wrong than any other. They are all perfectly capable of saying almost anything people want to say, and they all should be left their places alongside the special place of standard English.


People have a right to be proud of their accents. They signal class and regional origins that people hold dear. As Ms Edwards says, “my accent's staying put. So what if it tells people where I'm from? I adore where I'm from.”


We spent a large percentage of that class learning about and discussing AAVE, much of it was liberal hand-wringing about how white kids from the burbs can just write papers in their native language while black kids have to learn a second language in order to sound academic

That's exactly what it is, and it's also disingenuous of them. White kids from the suburbs have that ditsy valley-girl shit, l33t speak, and other stupid ass shit that has no place in formal writing.

now it all makes sense. its a bullshit job for bullshit people. no offense, regular people. but a lot of bullshit petty powerhungry dickfaces go into education for dat easy money.

Given that it was a UC campus that's probably the sum of black students on campus.

Yep, this is definite. We're not discussing STEM graduates after all. These are merely the educators of the next generation, demanding high academic standards from that cohort is completely pointless. God we're soooooo fucked.

I just do it irl.