Tackling “GPS”

“Educating, Challenging Future Journalists of Color,’” Diverse, Aug. 10

Tackling “GPS”

In reading Richard Prince’s article about the lack of grammar, punctuation and spelling among journalism students of color (see Last Word, Aug. 10), I was reminded of my time as editor of the National Society of Black Engineers’ magazine. In my capacity as editor, I was often in close contact with our student leaders and the membership at large and, in many instances, was amazed that this group of seemingly smart, motivated kids had such a poor command of what was once called the “Queen’s English.” Consequently, these kids have difficulties in the work force because, among other reasons, they are challenged in their communications skills. Often, their stellar scholastic achievements and workplace potential are clouded by an inability to speak articulately and intelligently.

While every college or university requires a passing grade in English composition, or freshman English, I believe the solution to this problem is to also mandate an upper-level English course, as well as a course in speech, logic or oration. A mandatory course in philosophy may be helpful as well to aid in abstract thinking. The bottom line is that the keys to corporate America’s executive washroom are still owned by powerful, middle-aged White men. To enable our children of color to break through this barrier, their communications skills must be on par with the technical proficiencies they bring to the table.

— Kevin M. Briscoe

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