There are a couple of very interesting threads about ‘Ebonics’ (African-American Vernacular English – AAVE) over at Oliver Willis’ blog – “Acting White” & Reality – I Be Talking Good, Yo. It never ceases to amaze me how people, Oliver included, can assume that AAVE has no rules. Believe me, you can speak AAVE improperly. Many of those commenters, and Oliver, seem incredulous that AAVE is an actual dialect of standard American English. Well damn, if linguists say it’s a dialect it’s a damn dialect. For those commenter that keep asking for an AAVE book as proof that it’s a dialect, you can borrow my reader from my 1989 Stanford Linguistics 73 (Black English) course taught by Professor J.R. Rickford. (Plenty of books for you there.)
As for the rest of the discussion, I think we all can agree that people need to speak proper English for job interviews and the like.
P.S. “Do You Speak American?” should be required viewing for all involved in those threads!
P.P.S. I see that Dean has written an excellent piece supporting the uncontrovertible fact that Black English is a valid language/dialect.