Affirmative action and bad English

Countenance recently linked to a St. Louis Examiner article about the “need” for increased quotas for minority contractors in the Illinois department of transportation.
The author of the above article, Damien Johnson, was fair enough to mention the Civil Rights Institute, which opposes all forms of affirmative action.  But let us take a look at the paragraph in question:

Groups like Civil Rights Institute argue argue against granting preferencial treatment to any group or class of people in and effort to seek color blind society; however, some poeple argue a color blind society is a myth and point to Mayor Parks fight for minority inclusion as proof. Understanding, a project by the National Sciene Foundation and McGraw-Hill High Education, argue that affrimative action is still needed today because the playing field in not leveled for women and minorities.

How many typos can you find in the above paragraph?  I see at least 9 right off the bat.  The rest of the article is just as bad.  The irony in this, considering the subject matter, is hard to miss.  Here’s Johnson’s profile:

Damien Johnson, a local activist and blogger, is involved with local politics and pays attention to what is going on. He believes that an informed voter is important to our democracy. He encourages people to register to vote. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice with a minor in studio art from the University of Missouri at St. Louis. For fun, he plays chess and enjoys attending open mic night and gallery openings. Damien likes to draw graffiti and expressionistic art.

There can be little doubt that his credentials were probably also acquired via affirmative action, which is pervasive in universities throughout the country.  Oh, I’m sure he studied and worked for his degrees, but the gears of his advancement were certainly greased with the lubricant of affirmative action.
When the bar is set so low, and when it is considered acceptable to publish text such as what we see in the above article, it is inevitable that the English of white writers will also become degraded.  Why work hard to write in flawless English when it is no longer demanded or expected?
I’d like to point out that Mr. Johnson, aside from acknowledging the Civil Rights Institute, also took the time to respond to my email, in which I asked him who (if anybody) proofreads the online articles.  His response was that columnists do their own proofreading.  He seemed surprised and concerned about it, so I’ll give him credit for that.  It remains to be seen if he’ll do something about it and take some remedial English courses.

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8 Responses to Affirmative action and bad English

  1. Wise Sephard says:

    You have hit upon one of my personal bugaboos: the near-illiteracy of two generations of Americans who have managed to graduate from high school (and university) without a single course in English grammar. When I went to elementary school, an entire year was devoted to mastering various grammatical appurtenances like usage and syntax and (Strunk & White’s Rules of) writing. I spent a month just learning to diagram sentences (remember that?) Today, a few weeks in sixth grade is all that’s alloted to acquiring these skills. Instead, schools teach “Creative Expression”. and “Free Flow Narrative”. (I actually had a college student hand me a six-page research paper – on fluid mechanics! – that hadn’t a single comma or period in the entire document; just six pages of stream-of-consciousness, run-on merde. He’d been a straight-A pupil in his “high school without walls”. and he was furious that I couldn’t appreciate his obvious brilliance.) I once asked a middle-school English teacher why grammar was no longer being taught as it once was. She scowled at me and answered (I kid you not), “And how entertaining do you think THAT would be?!”
    Because English was not my native language, learning the rules of grammar was NOT much fun for me. In fact, I remember it as drudgery. But then, I didn’t go to school expecting to be entertained, and my hatchet-faced English teacher, Miss Marshall, was certainly not up to that particular challenge, anyway. English was hardly my favorite subject, and today, I consider my writing skills barely passable. But in comparison to the knuckle-headed illiterates being mass-produced by our nation’s current educational system, I’m Shakespeare!

  2. Unamused says:

    The guy is Republican, autistic, and very much in favor of legalizing marijuana. I was going to write a post making fun of his atrocious writing, but now it just seems mean.

  3. Georgia Resident says:

    He’s smart enough to know that he’ll get even more affirmative action goodies if he’s a Republican than if he’s a Democrat (black Dems, after all, are a dime a dozen), and he doesn’t even have to change his views on any important issues.

  4. Georgia Resident says:

    “*While this issue is not exclusively effect people with disabilities, we are effected. I believe we need to make it easier for people to vote: this will include but not limited to making ballots in languages other than English, a voter ID law that does not disenfranchise voters and allowing people to voter absentee without requiring them to get a the absentee ballot notarized.”
    Affirmative Action: giving illiterate NAMs college degree since the 70s.

  5. countenance says:

    I’ve been following this Damien Johnson for awhile. For someone who claims to be a Republican and at least a little bit conservative, he hangs around the militant left wing in this town a lot. He also favors the “Security and Prosperity Partnership,” with Mexico, a prefiguration of the formal North American Union.
    Unamused: Not even the wimp pandering Republicans around here, the ones that are “oh so anxious” for the mythical black Republican great pumpkin to rise out of the patch, really want anything to do with him.
    BTW, that new river bridge project already has more than sufficient black participation according to both Illinois state law and Federal law. (Though the bridge is between MO and IL, Illinois’s DOT is the lead DOT on this project, as IL and MO alternate project leads on interstate cross-river bridge projects. The next MO-IL bridge that will need to get built or rebuilt or refurbished or repaired, MODOT will lead.)

  6. countenance says:
    DJ just posted vid from the St. Louis Occutards. Like I said, for someone who is a “Republican” and at least pretends to be a wee bit “conservative,” what’s he doing hanging around the militant left in this town?

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