- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The University of Washington, Tacoma’s Writing Center now instructs students that expecting proper grammar from others perpetuates racism and “unjust language structures.”

A cadre of staffers at University of Washington, Tacoma recently crafted an instructional poster for “Huskies” on “anti-racist and social justice work.” The project was spearheaded by Dr. Asao Inoue, the center’s director.

“Racism is the normal condition of things. Racism is pervasive,” the poster reads, the Daily Caller reported Monday. “It is in the systems, structures, rules, languages, expectations, and guidelines that make up our classes, school, and society. For example, linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent ‘standard’ of English. Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English.”

The center’s guidelines then lists numerous “commitments” that will be honored on the students’ behalf. Some include:

  • “Emphasize the importance of rhetorical situations over grammatical ‘correctness’ in the production of texts.”
  • “Be more aware of grammar as a rhetorical set of choices with various consequences.”
  • “Discuss racism and social justice issues openly in productive ways.”

Jill Purdy, Tacoma’s vice chancellor of undergraduate affairs, said on the school’s website that Dr. Inoue’s work demonstrates “a great example of how we are striving to act against racism.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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