Dear Mr. John Rickford,
After reading your article, I believe I came up with an answer for your question as to why "linguists see the issue [of Ebonics] so differently from most other people." For starters, I believe it has to do with the fact that linguist study every aspect of Ebonics from the words used to how it's pronounced, where as other people do not. Linguists agree that Ebonics is not a separate language from English, but it is also noted that they do not believe it is simply "slang." In your article you mention that Ebonics has some form of grammar and "distinctive patterns of pronunciation." Since most people have not studied Ebonics to the extent that linguists have, they will not particularly see the distinction between Ebonics and slang and Standard English. Being that linguists know and appreciate these differences, they are able to have a set argument on why or why not Ebonics is actually another language. But, what linguists need to understand is that people who do not study language will not pick up on the minor things that differentiates Ebonics, slang and Standard English, which is why they would prefer for Ebonics (slang in their minds) to not be used over Standard English.