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phase 3

Ayanna Kindell
Watson/Heerah/Miller
11/21/19
FIQWS
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/rachel-jeantel-on-trial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrYAF9rrHJU
Rachel Jenatell faced incredible discrimination when testifying against George
Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder case. One thing that stood out to me was when the
Attorney defending Zimmerman asked her if she can speak proper English. despite her
completely understanding and forming comprehensible sentences he asked her that to throw her
off and to disrespect her. All this because she spoke in African American vernacular. JEantell Is
a Miami native with southern city Vernacular. This gave the attorney a multitude of weapons to
use against her. In the days following her testimony social media lit up with mean-spirited jokes
and comments about the way she spoke. All of this coming from the institutional racism that
surrounds language. Language is fluid and it is known that every city has different dialects and
ways of speaking. Despite this media tore her down and eventually the judge decided that her
testimony was not credible, that she could not understand what truly happened, and that it was
dismissible. Kirk Cecil testimony was dismissed and not you and Zimmerman it’s free. She is not
solely to blame, in fact she is not to blame at all, the judge and social media is to blame. The
judge allowed this to happen. For crucial testimony is not used, and since the judge clearly has a
prejudice against binoculars that are not standard American vernacular, George Zimmerman was
acquitted.
She provided 16 + hours of testimony and 6 non-stop hours, the longest any single witness has
produced in this entire case. she would be the perfect asset to have in to Prosecuting George
Zimmerman in this murder yet the only thing that people could discuss was the way she spoke.
People called her disgusting things. “‘This inarticulate, fat drughead is unemployable and
another welfare parasite sucking on the government teat.’—Tom Robinson, LSU24 (16)
‘Everyone, regardless of race, should learn to speak correct English, or at least understandable
English … . I couldn’t understand 75% of what she was saying … that is just ridiculous

[sic]

!’—Emma, comment on MEDIAite25”.
But I have noticed is predominantly, the people that are harassing Jeantel and parading
her are people of color. When viewing the articles, I’ve seen that most of the people are black or
in a community that is predominantly black. One social media Network that I looked up was on
Twitter. People were retweeting portions of her testimony and buried in her. Saying that she
cannot talk, that she is illiterate, and wondering why she is on the stand. I believe that perfect
English is a matter of opinion and people should be accepting of other people’s opinions but also
should not judge people based on the standards of their opinions. With the attorney speaking in
the dialect that dominates North American culture, Jeantel sadly was at a disadvantage . All of
this stemming from institutional racism. Obviously Trayvon Martin feast racial discrimination in
racial profiling, and we hope to end up. But Jeantel stood in the courtroom what shows no signs
of improvement.
One thing i have noticed was that all of this all is from society points of view. I have
never seen another race criticized and abused as much as african americans, especially the
women. It all stems from racism. With the enslaved being forced to believe lighter skin tones are
classier, prettier and all around better and we can’t shake that idea. Black mothers straightening
childrens hair for special event, instilling the thought that inky hair isn’t appropriate for events ad
isn’t elegant. Women bleaching their skin and being delusional enough to believe the pasty tone
they receive is better than the melanin they were given. Relaxing childrens hair for years,
knowing the damage but believing the weakened state is better rather than it being a lifestyle or
personal choice. All this fuels the thoughts that the un-altered blac women ( wide nose, dark
skin, big lips, muscular tones) is ugly and far from desirable. This directly affects Jeantal.
Another Stance I felt what’s noticeable was the fact that Jeantel was a stereotypical black
woman. She is a dark skinned women who two others seems to be uneducated and illiterate, she
is ghetto, overweight, and her hair is a funky mess.
. I
could already hear the fat girl voice along with a nasty attitude. but that is what I was raised to
believe and what so many kids are we used to see when they think of a black woman. the
dismissal of her testimony is deeper than just her veernacular, it’s about the way she talks, the
color of her skin, the way she dresses, where she’s from, in a multitude of other factors that all
began with discrimination, self-hatred, and blatant racism. It didn’t really help that the defense
attorney and pretty much the whole jurist and was full of white people who could never
understand the full extent a black woman could be berated. Of course that was not the only
reason why she was berated, she also could not understand everything that she wrote. In this
article “ Rachel Jeantel on trial” , Jelani Cobb writes “She wandered verbally sometimes,
struggled to articulate what she was thinking. When the defense attorney Don West handed her a
transcript of her own testimony and asked her to read part of it back, there was a lacerating
silence. She pored over the page, but never actually recited the words. Thursday morning, she
confessed to literacy difficulties, and to having needed assistance in writing a letter to Martin’s
mother that’s been entered into evidence.” He later writes “Her time on the stand began to seem
like a scene wisely cut out of the movie “Precious.”
Another thing I felt was important was this meme that I found when researching this
woman. . The movie “Precious” Is a classic
African-American ghetto hood story of a black girl who was wronged all her life and is the
perfect stereotype of a black woman. the movie depicts a young girl who was raped at a young
age by her father giving birth to his child who is mentally disabled. Precious has little to no
education, cannot properly write or speak at the age of 16 while she is still in Middle School.
she is hiv-positive and her abusive mother berates her to no end. Rachel is being depicted as the
early 2010 version of Precious because of her weight, the way she speaks, and the nature of her
relationship to the victim. It was unclear what the relationship was but it seemed to me, that this
man was more interested in her sex life than the true relationship of thisgirl and the victim. With
all these questions relating to her unknown relationship to Trayvon Martin the trial seemed
biased and skewed the View of Jeantel by making her look like a liar and hurt by her f*ch
buddies death if I’m being blunt.
Billy Hill5 years ago
Absolutely hilarious how CNN went out of its way to side with this nit wit. She single handedly lost the case because of her courtroom antics
which was apparent throughout the trial.
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Judy Hopps5 years ago
CNN is so bias in this. It’s hysterically funny.
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Frank Johanson5 years ago
Body language? If her body could “talk,” it would say “Ah needs mo’ chicken wings.”
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blondsdoitbetta5 years ago
my 9 month old nephew could give more coherent answers than her.
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Ted Johnson2 years ago
And it is video clips like this which demonstrate why the American public no longer trusts the opinion of CNN.
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Carson Weiss5 years ago
That’s not body language that is the effects of diabetes
These are some of the few examples of language conflicts in our multilingual Society.
These conflicts lead to nothing. People will still have the same dialect grow up in the same
homes and believe the same things no matter what happened because of this ideology that
standard American English is the best and also because 1 unified dialect is hard to achieve. I
personally believe the intentions were good. People wanted 1 dialect for easy communication.
But people ruined it with their own prejudices.
For much of this article we focused on Rachel Jeantel and the injustice done to her (and
Trayvon Martin) in court. Her AAVE, though systematic, was misheard and maligned. Her
testimony, which provided crucial evidence, was disregarded because of its unfamiliarity to most
jurors and social biases against AAVE speakers. Looking beyond this particular case and the
criminal justice system, speaking AAVE in the United States often exacerbates biases rooted in
race and class in cross-dialect domains like schools, job/housing searches, doctors’ visits, and so
on. Looking even further afield, and recalling cases summarized in the beginning of this article,
we observe that the mishearings experienced by AAVE speakers are shared by vernacular
speakers from other ethnic groups, languages, and regions across the United States and around
the world. They are much more vulnerable than speakers of standard or mainstream varieties to
being misheard and misjudged by police, judges, juries, teachers, landlords, doctors, and
employers in everyday life. So what can and should we do? If language is what most distinctly
makes us human, shouldn’t linguists(the experts on language) be more centrally involved in vital
human issues involving language? If we look around, such issues are everywhere: in law, in
education, in housing, employment, medical care, politics, poverty, and discrimination, but
linguists are not, at least not in the numbers and with the vigor that we should be. This is not to
gainsay the valuable contributions made to language and the law by linguists of every
specialization,from Ellen Prince to Janet Fuller,Roger Shuy,William Labov, Mark Liberman,
Peter Patrick, Walt Wolfram, and others too numerous to mention. And we must recognize the
contributions to the study of reading, writing, and second language instruction made by applied
linguists, who often do not get the recognition and respect

Works Cited
YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrYAF9rrHJU.
Abad-Santos, Alexander. “My Star Witness Is Black: Rachel Jeantel’s Testimony Makes
Trayvon a Show Trial.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 29 Oct. 2013,
www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/rachel-jeantel-testimony-trayvon-martin-tri
al/313792/.
Cobb, Jelani. “Rachel Jeantel on Trial.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 19 June 2017,
www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/rachel-jeantel-on-trial.
Jacobs, Tom. “Research Suggests Black Women Are More Likely to Be Objectified and
Dehumanized.” Pacific Standard, 11 Sept. 2018,
psmag.com/social-justice/black-women-are-more-likely-to-be-objectified-and-dehumanize
d.
“Rachel Jeantel’s Language Is English – It’s Just Not Your English.” Mic,
www.mic.com/articles/52697/rachel-jeantel-s-language-is-english-it-s-just-not-your-englis
h.

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