by Gray Graham
For the past week a lot people decided that it was funny that someone did not know how to read. Doesn't matter who the person is the mere fact that it was viewed as being humorous says about all you need to know about America and our country.
See there are a lot of Americans who can not read about 15% of the population. Many adults in fact read below a 5th grade level. Most things that you see are written at a 7th grade level. So you see most of the people that think that it is funny that someone can not read actually have very little room to talk.
America today is the only industrialized country in the world where the current generation is less educated than the previous generation. We constantly fall behind the world in STEM fields and our school system is in shambles. Compared to other children in the world from the top 65 nations we rank smack dab in the middle yet we spend more money than anyone else on education.
Research shows that 85% of all juvenile delinquents are illiterate. 70% of inmates in the prison system can not read above a 4th grade level There is a direct link to crime and delinquency with literacy. It is a problem that has not change in America for the past 10 years and will probably be our downfall as a nation.
What really strikes you is that just about everyone I saw who thought this was funny was someone Black. See everyone else already assumes that all Black people are illiterate. Insulting our intelligence is the first thing that many do. Whether you have a law degree from Harvard or a high school diploma, it is always assumed that you lag behind other groups when it comes to intelligence. The sad truth is that research often bears this in mind.
So for a group of people that for generations have faced a gigantic literacy hurdle, for them to joke even slightly that a person can not read is a little beyond belief. When so many people struggle to survive and education is the key to improving your station in life, to think that not knowing how to read is funny really must make a lot of people happy.
I wonder how many people thought for a second how it is possible that a person in America that at some point attended school can not read. I also wonder how many of these people understand that over half of Black males that attend school do not graduate.
We have protests and rallies when someone is killed by the police, but when the same system does not educate our young people we laugh and tell jokes. I guess it makes some people feel better about themselves without having to face the realities of the world.
Many educated Black people have long felt the need to make less educated Black people feel bad about themselves. It makes them seem more valuable to others and not like those other Black people. It was true during the Civil Rights movement and it is true today.
Maybe one day we will understand that we as a people would be better served trying to uplift everyone instead of trying to crush others beneath our heels. Are you your brother's keeper? Seems like that answer is consistently no.