There’s a very interesting piece on this blog by June O’Sullivan, chief exec of the social enterprise the London Early Years Foundation. She picks up on an item that appeared recently in the London Evening Standard about why “Ghetto grammar robs the young of a proper voice”.
I think she’s quite brave to tackle head-on an issue that many will find contentious — why we often collude with young people’s self-disempowerment by pretending that there’s nothing wrong with the inability to express oneself clearly and effectively. She claims this view to be a kind of ‘false equality’ and I believe she’s absolutely right. The inability to use language effectively (especially when from choice) further disempowers those who already have least power and least choice.
But there’s a bigger political point here, too. In a time when our wider politics are steeped in deceit and dishonesty, to be able to use language clearly is to be able to think more clearly, is to wrest back a little bit of power.
It would be interesting to know whether other social enterprise providers adopt a similar line on language in the work they do to support young people. Do you? Should you?