June 5, 2015

"The reason for this is not so much an inherent American goodness--although I would argue that our motives in world affairs are generally more altruistic than those of most other large nations--but because of our unique position as a liberal democratic superpower that embraces an aspirational, rather than ethnic or confessional, national identity."
--James Kirchick, writing in Slate on the FIFA takedown and in defense of American hegemony and exceptionalism.
"In that 2005 University of Maryland at Baltimore study, groups of black and white children were shown images from Sesame Street. In the crucial picture, a sick Cookie Monster languished in bed without any cookies, while Elmo stood nearby eating a cookie. "Who is eating cookies?" Jackson asked her test subjects, and all of them indicated Elmo. "Who be eating cookies?" Jackson then asked. The white kids replied that it was Elmo, while the black kids pointed to Cookie Monster. After all, it is the existential state of Cookie Monster to be eating cookies, while Elmo just happened to be earing a cookie at that moment. Cookie Monster, to those conversant in AAE, be eating cookies, whether he is eating cookies or not. "
--Slate on African-American English and the Habitual Be. If you've been thinking "Ebonics" is just broken English, you're wrong; it has forms that concisely convey states of being that other dialects lack.