Skip to main content

Illiteracy in Trump's America

As we all know, the Third Monday of January is the day we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Over the past several years, the holiday is marked as a Day of Service when we, as Americans, go out and do our part to make a difference in the lives of others in some form or fashion.  This year I decided to start early by using my skills and expertise to give back to the Durham Literacy Center.  The DLC is a place where people go to study and prepare for their high school equivalency exam.  They are drop-outs for one reason or another.  Because of my journalism/communications background, the Program Director thought I would be a good tutor for someone studying to pass the Language Arts portion of the test.

On January 11, 2018, I became an "official" volunteer with my first student.  Initially, I was supposed to be paired up with a young woman--but she didn't show up on time and this young man was already there so he and I were assigned to each other.  To be honest, when I first saw him I immediately thought of the notion that he was probably a supporter of Donald Trump.  He just looked the part. I thought I would be uncomfortable at first but, as I've said many times, I never meet a stranger so I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I was also thinking he needed MY help so whatever thoughts he might have had about working with an African-American he needed to put them aside in order to accomplish his goal for the two and a half hour session.

I started out by correcting him when I asked him a question and he said "It don't matter."  I responded, "The correct sentence is "It doesn't matter."  Not sure how well that went over but he didn't challenge me on it.  Then he broke the ice by commenting on the LeBron James jersey I was wearing.  My husband knows full well that a way to my heart is talking about sports so I was more than willing to engage in a lively discussion about whether or not LeBron would be leaving Cleveland after the season and why the Cavs have so much talent but they still "suck." (His words not mine).  During the conversation I learned he was a big Carolina Panthers fan and he predicted it would be the Patriots vs. the Eagles in this year's Super Bowl.

Once we got down to business, I discovered this young white male who, on the surface, has more "privilege" than I ever will, is truly illiterate.  He couldn't pronounce some words that are a normal part of my vocabulary---like diligent, avid, pacify, consensus, mediate.  And if you can't pronounce the word, you certainly aren't going to know the meaning of it.  So we spent the time matching vocabulary words to their meanings and including them in sentences.

The sad thing is this student is among approximately 32 million Americans who can't read, according to the U.S. Dept. of Education and National Institute of Literacy.

Here are some other statistics:  

1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.

Students who don't read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.

Just over 59 percent of voters who supported Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suffer from moderate to severe illiteracy.  (Source:  Real News Now)

I don't know what this young man's personal story is, nor do I know if he did, indeed, vote for Trump.  But I do know he is illiterate and fits the profile of a Trumpster.

How ironic that the fate of his language arts success would lie in the hands of this well-educated black woman.  God is working through both of us for His greater good.


Popular posts from this blog

18 Years

During a recent trip to my doctor's office for my annual health check-up, I got news I'm not sure I thought I would ever hear.  "You can stop taking your carvedilol."  I'd been taking this medication for congestive heart failure.

My story of having congestive heart failure began 18 years ago around 2:30 in the morning.  I was lying in bed trying to sleep but I was having trouble breathing.  I was gasping for air.  I leaned over to my husband (ex) and told him how I was feeling and asked him to take me to the hospital.  He didn't move so I drove myself to the ER and ended up being admitted, where I stayed for 10 days.  Not only did I have to worry about getting better but I also had to be concerned about my 10-year-old daughter's welfare since she was now in the sole custody of her father, who was absent from the family more times than he was present.

Little did I know at the time just how sick I was.  I was already being treated for hyperthyroidism but th…

Survey says Christmas is about the Experience not the Gifts

If there's a survey out somewhere, you can believe I'll find it and share it----like this one on what Americans say they want for Christmas.

E-X-P-E-R-I-E-N-C-E!  Yes, according to a report released by IfOnly, an overwhelming 81 percent of respondents said they preferred an "experience" over any other type of gift.  

Okay, so the next question is, what kind of experience?  

39 percent said go on a helicopter tour
32 percent said go on a private tour of a museum
27 percent said pet a panda at the zoo

But get this:  36 percent of those who took the survey said they would rather spend the holiday with a wild animal than with their in-laws.

75 percent of Millennials said they would do anything in exchange for an incredible experience while nearly half of those surveyed said they would give up an hour of sleep for the entire holiday season to have an incredible experience instead of receiving a gift certificate.

And for those of you who have been complaining about lack of intimac…

There's a Survey for Thanksgiving

Another survey has come out and this one is just in time for Thanksgiving.  Delta Dental has come out with its Third Annual Thanksgiving pie survey.

The number one pie enjoyed by families across America is pumpkin once again.  Thirty-six percent of those surveyed favored it over pecan pie, which came in a distant second at 17 percent. 

In other survey results,pumpkin pie is enjoyed most in the West and least in the South.  That's not a surprising statistic because Southerners love their sweet potato pies loaded with lots and lots of sugar.  A dentist's dream.

Apple pie came in third with 14 percent, followed by sweet potato at 10 percent, chocolate 9 percent, lemon meringue 4 percent, blueberry and cherry tied at 3 percent and strawberry at 2 percent.

Of course, while this survey may or may not be relevant, Delta Dental's message is that whatever pie you eat this holiday season that you "remember to take the time to brush and floss away the sugary remnants."