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ERIC Number: EJ1162183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Review of Nichole E. Stanford's "Good God but You Smart!: Language Prejudice and Upwardly Mobile Cajuns"
Composition Forum, v37 Fall 2017
In "Good God but You Smart!" Nichole E. Stanford provides an account of how attitudes toward Cajun English (CE) perpetuate and are perpetuated by an economic system designed to maintain unequal power relations. While non-Cajun Americans are interested in what they see as Cajun culture, Stanford explains that most misunderstand what "Cajun" means, conflating the terms "Cajun, Creole, Louisiana, and New Orleans." While Cajuns themselves are an ethnically diverse group determined primarily by cultural identification, modern-day Cajun culture was established by the descendants of Acadians who settled in South Louisiana. Despite increasing interest in certain aspects of Cajun culture, Cajuns themselves are still subjected to stereotyping, misunderstanding, and discrimination. As explained in Stanford's introduction, this stereotyping extends to bias against speakers of CE, leading many Cajuns to censor CE features from their speech to achieve professional success. Throughout her book, Stanford skillfully combines memoir, family history, archival research, and survey data to explain to a general audience how Louisiana's history of linguistic and cultural discrimination has led to current attitudes toward Cajun culture and CE. The first chapter examines stereotypes surrounding Cajun culture and language. Though CE emerged as an identity marker during the "Cajun Renaissance" of the 1970s, most speakers still censor Cajun features from their speech due to widespread public perceptions of the dialect.
Descriptors: Literary Styles, Literature Appreciation, Literary Criticism, Subcultures, Stereotypes, Didacticism, Racial Attitudes, Anthropological Linguistics
Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://compositionforum.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A