News & Politics

Fight 'White Language Supremacy,' Prof Will Grade on 'Labor' Not Results

Fight 'White Language Supremacy,' Prof Will Grade on 'Labor' Not Results
(Image by angrias from Pixabay.)

“White language supremacy” is the problem, and destroying grading standards is the solution, at least according to one Arizona State University English professor.

Asao B. Inoue is a professor of Rhetoric & Composition at ASU and he is urging his fellow (xello?) teachers to fight “white language supremacy” by implementing “labor-based grading” which “redistributes power in ways that allow for more diverse habits of language to circulate.”

The problem is this: “White language supremacy in writing classrooms is due to the uneven and diverse linguistic legacies that everyone inherits, and the racialized white discourses that are used as standards, which give privilege to those students who embody those habits of white language already.”

In other words, when kids are taught proper English they forget all the vernacular they learned growing up and then we’ll lose all our cherished diversity and everybody will die of injustice, The End.

Or maybe Inoue is saying people of color just can’t be expected to learn proper English.

Tell that to James Earl Jones, Mr. Inoue.

I’d also add that a professor of Rhetoric & Composition ought to avoid writing sentences like this one from his unicorn-decorated Twitter profile: “Our languaging changes as we do. Doing this kind of conventioning work might cultivate practices in students that ask them to be lifelong languagelings, ones who learn about their conventioning throughout their lives.”

Give me an F, please, teacher.

To fight the power, Inoue recommends labor-based grading, which “structurally changes everyone’s relationship to dominant standards of English that come from elite, masculine, heteronormative, ableist, white racial groups of speakers.”

That’s according to a presentation he recently gave on the subject, as seen by The College Fix.

According to the Fix, labor-based grading “involves assigning grades based on the ‘labor’ students put into their assignments, rather than the grammar, style and quality of their work.

At last, we know the answer to the question almost no one was asking: What happens when Karl Marx’s labor theory of value gets tenure?

The labor theory of value is very popular on the Left, probably because it makes no sense. Marx — who never labored once in his entire life — proposed that “labor” has inherent value, that “if we disregard the use-value of commodities, they have only one property left, that of being products of labor.”

I assure you it sounds even stupider in the original German.

The short version is that “labor” determines a product’s value, not the competitive marketplace.

It’s a crackpot theory, easily demolished.

Take the example of a skilled pastry chef and… me.

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Give a few dollars worth of flour, sugar, butter, etc., to that chef and after a couple of hours of his labors, he can sell you a gorgeous and tasty cake that you would be happy to pay a lot of money to buy.

I don’t bake and have no interest in baking. Let me labor on those same ingredients for the same two hours, and you’ll get a hot mess worth less than the value of the ingredients that went into it.

(Apologies: This is not my example, but I can’t find an online resource listing the original author.)

It’s not the “labor,” it’s the results.

Now we’re supposed to apply this same thinking to grading English papers.

We’re supposed to accept that one student’s craptaculently-written essay has the same value as another student’s beautifully written paper because they both put the same amount of labor into writing them.

What Inoue wants college instructors to do is apply crackpot Marxism theory to those who will be disadvantaged the most if they aren’t taught proper English.

Not only does Inoue imply that black and brown kids can’t learn English, but he would also deny them the very education they need to do well in this world.

Inoue would sacrifice minority college kids on his altar of “fairness.”

As James Earl Jones himself said, “When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.”

Whatever some student’s particular dialect or vernacular might be, if they aren’t taught proper English, they’ll be forever cut off from a broader, richer world.

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