Not White Just Right


In Rachel Jones essay “Not White Just Right”, Jones emphases why it is so important to master Standard English. The benefits from knowing Standard English are the ability to escape poverty, equal opportunity for all, and career success.


Jones was a poor black girl from Cairo, Illinois, with no real future. But by learning to write and speak proper English she was able to earn a scholarship and attend college to better her self and become a writer. “So many black kids believed that speaking articulately was a white characteristic” recalls Jones, and she was teased for speaking so. Kids would say that she wanted to be white. I believe that these children who saw speaking properly as a counter to their culture suffered in school and did not attend college and are probably still living in the same poor communities’ of Cairo, Illinois. If there were a survey of how many adults who graduated from high school and still lived in the poor communities I would imagine that the number would be much smaller that those who did not graduate. They type of people who end up in these poor communities lack the communication skills needed to work fro high paying jobs.


“Immigrants from all over the world seek to learn Standard English”. They seek to learn English because they know of the doors that it opens and opportunities that come with it. Being able to communicate is important for education as well as everyday life. Immigrants come to America because of the equal opportunities one has, also the ability to better themselves. This is why public schooling is mandatory so that everyone is exposed to English and has the ability to better themselves just by trying hard and learning all that they can before they are sent out into the real world. In school everyone starts from the ground up and how far one goes depends on them.


Jones states “success is America requires a mastery of communication skills” and I agree. In our high tech business world communication is everywhere by phone, fax, email, and video conferences as well as the conventional communication. Successful businesses depend on good communication so it is only natural that people who have superior English skills are successful and have high paying jobs. Having proper English skills shows that a person is bright and intelligent and could or has attended college. This ability also shows that the person can speak their thoughts clearly in an organized and insightful manner. One who cannot speak English or speaks poor or improper English in America can’t be understood and there for will not succeed. So children in inner city schools and immigrants must learn to speak proper English in order to communicate clearly and be understood by all.


In conclusion, Rachel Jones feels that it is important to master Standard English skills because it gives people the ability to escape poverty. Immigrants from all over the world want to learn English because it is now the universal language that business is conducted in and every country that is a world power second language is English. Jones also feels that if one has mastery in communication they will have success in America because to participate in business or college English is a necessity.