Delpit & Dowdy (2002). Introduction.

Delpit, L., & Dowdy, J. K. (Eds.). (2002). Introduction. In The skin that we speak: Thoughts on language and culture in the classroom. New York: The New Press.

“… according to the researcher, that very young children have developed attitudes toward African American language and assumptions about its speakers that closely parallel adult American views …” (p xvi)

“Our language embraces us long before we are defined by any other medium of identity. In our mother’s womb we hear and feel the sounds, the rhythms, the cadences of our ‘mother tongue.’ We learn to associate contentment with certain qualities of voice and physical disequilibrium with others. Our home language is as viscerally tied to our beings as existence itself — as the sweet sounds of love accompany our first milk, as our father’s pride permeates our bones and flesh when he shows us off to his friends, as a gentle lullaby or soft murmurs signal release into restful sleep. It is no wonder that our first language becomes intimately connected to our identity.” (p xvii)

“This issue of language use in school is particularly volatile. The commencement of formal education is usually one of the first settings in a person’s life when their language may be judged as right or wrong; when assumptions may be made about their intelligence, family life, future potential, or moral fiber every time a sentence is uttered. … Schools often see themselves, and are seen by the larger society, as the arbiters of what is proper, correct, and decent.” (p xviii)

See this page at