sealPurdue News

April 22, 2002

African-American ebonics scholar to speak at Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The psychologist who coined the term "ebonics" will present a lecture on racism at Purdue University on Friday (4/26).

Robert Williams will deliver a lecture, entitled "Racism at an Early Age: Its Origins, Transmission and Development," at 12:30 p.m. in Peirce Hall, room 277. It will be followed at 1:30 p.m. with an hour of conversation.

Williams, who is known for criticizing the use of I.Q. tests to measure the intellectual assessment of African Americans, will discuss his theory of racial scripting. He will relate how children's early exposure to racism can shape their behavior as adults.

Williams, professor emeritus of psychology and African-American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, promotes the systematic social science study of African-American children's language skills. He asserts that communicating with children through the use of ebonics can further understanding and ensure greater success in school. Ebonics combines the words "ebony" and "phonics" to describe the language of African Americans in a positive way.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Purdue's Department of Psychological Sciences, the African American Studies and Research Center, the Black Cultural Center, the counseling psychology program of the Department of Educational Studies and the Diversity Resource Office.

CONTACT: David Rollock, (765) 494-6996,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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