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Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealers

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Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealers

Old 08-23-10, 11:03 AM
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Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealers

No, this is not from The Onion. It's real.


http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documen...bonics-experts

Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts

DEA wants “Black English” linguists to decipher bugged calls

AUGUST 23, 2010 --The Department of Justice is seeking to hire linguists fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, translate, and transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of subjects of narcotics investigations, according to federal records.

A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a “DEA Sensitive” security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of “telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media”

The DEA’s need for full-time linguists specializing in Ebonics is detailed in bid documents related to the agency’s mid-May issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) covering the provision of as many as 2100 linguists for the drug agency’s various field offices. Answers to the proposal were due from contractors on July 29.

In contract documents, which are excerpted here, Ebonics is listed among 114 languages for which prospective contractors must be able to provide linguists. The 114 languages are divided between “common languages” and “exotic languages.” Ebonics is listed as a “common language” spoken solely in the United States.

Ebonics has widely been described as a nonstandard variant of English spoken largely by African Americans. John R. Rickford, a Stanford University professor of linguistics, has described it as “Black English” and noted that “Ebonics pronunciation includes features like the omission of the final consonant in words like ‘past’ (pas’ ) and ‘hand’ (han’), the pronunciation of the th in ‘bath’ as t (bat) or f (baf), and the pronunciation of the vowel in words like ‘my’ and ‘ride’ as a long ah (mah, rahd).”

Detractors reject the notion that Ebonics is a dialect, instead considering it a bastardization of the English language.

The Department of Justice RFP does not, of course, address questions of vernacular, dialect, or linguistic merit. It simply sought proposals covering the award of separate linguist contracts for seven DEA regions. The agency spends about $70 million annually on linguistic service programs, according to contract records.

In addition to the nine Ebonics experts, the DEA’s Atlanta office also requires linguists for eight other languages, including Spanish (144 linguists needed); Vietnamese (12); Korean (9); Farsi (9); and Jamaican patois (4). The Atlanta field division, one of the DEA’s busiest, is the only office seeking linguists well-versed in Ebonics. Overall, the “majority of DEA’s language requirements will be for Spanish originating in Central and South America and the Caribbean,” according to one contract document.

The Department of Justice RFP includes a detailed description of the crucial role a linguist can play in narcotics investigations. They are responsible for listening to “oral intercepts in English and foreign languages,” from which they provide verbal and typed summaries. “Subsequently, all pertinent calls identified by the supervising law enforcement officer will be transcribed verbatim in the required federal or state format,” the RFP notes.

Additionally, while “technology plays a major role in the DEA’s efforts, much of its success is increasingly dependent upon rapid and meticulous understanding of foreign languages used in conversations by speakers of languages other than English and in the translation, transcription and preparation of written documents.”
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Old 08-23-10, 11:10 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Obligatory:

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Old 08-23-10, 11:33 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

What, they can't just ask Obama?
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Old 08-23-10, 11:38 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Detractors reject the notion that Ebonics is a dialect, instead considering it a bastardization of the English language.
People care enough to become a detractor?
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Old 08-23-10, 11:55 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by Bronkster View Post
What, they can't just ask Obama?
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Old 08-23-10, 11:56 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
Detractors reject the notion that Ebonics is a dialect, instead considering it a bastardization of the English language.
Some would say the same about American English..
Detractor's gonna detract.

Btw, Grundle in posting almost worthwhile thread shocker!
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Old 08-23-10, 12:00 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Did Obama rape your family or something?
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Old 08-23-10, 12:08 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

You think that's crazy, the US Army actually paid a friend of mine to learn Arabic!
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Old 08-23-10, 12:14 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by Burnt Thru View Post
Some would say the same about American English..
England and America are two countries separated by a common language.
- George Bernard Shaw

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Old 08-23-10, 12:45 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Did Obama rape your family or something?
No, but he did take a steaming hot whiz on Ayn Rand.
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Old 08-23-10, 12:48 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

It's quite common for the police to recruit people off the street to aid in investigations. I don't see anything wrong with this other than police trying to better do their jobs that doesn't involve kicking down doors of people that are innocent, and randomly killing kids who steal snickers bars.
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Old 08-23-10, 12:55 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

They really should just watch The Wire.
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Old 08-23-10, 05:11 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by Superboy View Post
No, but he did take a steaming hot whiz on Ayn Rand.
I would pay money to watch that.
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Old 08-23-10, 06:54 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Looks like they're on a real multicultural kick.

Justice Department was looking to hire a "medicine man".
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Old 08-23-10, 08:52 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Anyone who's watched The Wire knows this is a smart move.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:19 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Saw this story on npr.org. The government can't even be racist without assistance these days.
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Old 08-23-10, 10:56 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

"The charmer's name was Gaff, I'd seen him around. Bryant must have upped him to the Blade Runner unit. That gibberish he talked was city speak, gutter talk. A mishmash of Japanese, Spanish, German, what have you. I didn't really need a translator, I knew the lingo, every good cop did. But I wasn't going to make it easier for him."


Last edited by Save Ferris; 08-23-10 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 08-24-10, 02:00 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by Joe Camel View Post
I don't see what the big deal is... Some criminals are speaking in a slang language that very few people can understand. So they want to hire people who can speak that slang to decode their messages.

Those of you who find this hilarious, do you prefer them to make guesses and risk making a serious mistake?
I think most of us would prefer this country end it's draconian drug war that dis-proportionally targets blacks so we don't need people to "interpret their language" in the first place.

Edit: Just in case you question the truthfulness of my racism allegation, here's proof of my claim for marijuana arrests. Harder drugs, the numbers get even worse.

Last edited by NORML54601; 08-24-10 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 08-25-10, 05:10 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by BigDaddy View Post
They really should just watch The Wire.
That was exactly the first thing that popped into my head when I read the first post. David Simon could set them straight.

Re: Obama's knowledge of Ebonics: According to Harry Reid, Obama can "talk black when he needs to", so the President would be a logical choice if he weren't so busy.
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Old 08-25-10, 05:27 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by NORML54601 View Post
I think most of us would prefer this country end it's draconian drug war that dis-proportionally targets blacks so we don't need people to "interpret their language" in the first place.

Edit: Just in case you question the truthfulness of my racism allegation, here's proof of my claim for marijuana arrests. Harder drugs, the numbers get even worse.
??????????????

The link you provided points out a numerical disparity in drug arrest rates. It doesn't allege that officers are being ordered to arrest blacks & ignore non-whites. In fact, it states that the rates are not the result of personal bias or racism on the part of individual officers.

One of the statistics cited states that 56% of marijuana arrests in California over a given time were from black and Latino suspects when those racial groups only constituted 44% of the population. That doesn't seem so far-fetched to me. When I read about meth labs being busted around here (which is common), it nearly always involves suspects living in mobile homes...yet no one is alleging that people in trailers are being "targeted" at higher rates than people in brick-and-mortar homes. Almost all of the meth producers are white...should they charge that whites are being "targeted" while non-white producers are being handled with kid gloves?

Just off the top of my head, I could think of various reasons for the disparity: More black kids living in the projects, which tend to be a higher-crime area (thus drawing more attention from police); more single-parent homes (less supervision); less access to vehicles (thus forcing black youth to congregate in areas that are less remote & more easily put under surveillance), etc. It's easier to imagine non-minority youth having the ability to toke in more remote areas (larger homes with both parents working, vehicles to travel to remote areas, less police surveillance in neighborhood, etc.) than non-white youth.

If statistics can prove that non-white kids living in the same neighborhoods with the same socioeconomic backgrounds are being arrested at higher rates, I would find the charges of "targeting" much more believable. Until one can produce testimony or documented evidence that law enforcement is systematically ordering police to target blacks, I would look at other reasons for the disparity.

Unless you also think that the education system is "targeting" blacks by ordering teachers to do a poorer job teaching that group (since their SAT scores are lower).
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Old 08-25-10, 08:10 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

If only "those people" would spend more time book-learnin' and less time roaming in rape-packs.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:32 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Originally Posted by NORML54601 View Post
I think most of us would prefer this country end it's draconian drug war that dis-proportionally targets blacks so we don't need people to "interpret their language" in the first place..
I haven't seen a poll to show that most Americans want to end the drug war.

Perhaps you could provide the forum with one?
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Old 08-25-10, 08:55 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

In my experience the reason black drug offenders are arrested more often is that they're easier to arrest...they buy and sell in public, on street corners.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:06 PM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

I see. You're dumb if you don't believe the drug war should be ended.

We certainly have some opinionated folks on this forum.
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Old 08-27-10, 12:01 AM
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Re: Obama administration seeks Ebonics experts to translate statements by drug dealer

Of course, if George Bush did this while he was in office he would be called racist
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