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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Megan E. Melançon

Abstract

After watching a documentary entitled Black on White, by Robert MacNeil, we realized that many people still tend to make a distinction between white and black English. Since the documentary was rather dated, we decided to pursue this topic to further investigate whether or not the views expressed in the film are still the general consensus of the population. Some of the people we interviewed for this project did indeed express the belief that white and black English differ very much one from the other. In fact, as we began to investigate this topic, we realized that it is even more controversial than ever before. The people interviewed for the film seemed far more open to discuss differences between blacks and whites than the people that we interviewed. Perhaps incidents such as Don Imus’ being fired for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball players ‘nappy headed-hoes’ has made people paranoid about expressing how they feel. After completing this project, we ended up with some interesting data that will ideally help us conclude what white and black college students linguistically feel about black and white English dialects in the American South.

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