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

Millennials Want Their Own Day

In case you haven't heard the news, there's a online petition encouraging the man they call the President of the U.S. to establish a National Millennials Day.

Self-proclaimed millennial leaders James Goodnow and Ryan Avery want to establish June 19 as a day for Generation Y to dispel the FAKE NEWS being spread about them.  They say they simply want to show those of us who have labeled them as "entitled" selfish" lazy" "narcissistic" (and other choice adjectives) that they can be important contributors to society.  Their "vision is to make National Millennials Day a day of service--a day when they reach out and help others in their communities.

 According to their website,, organizers say "With National Millennials Day, we want to turn the stereotypes inside--out.  To show that we're more GENERATION WE than Generation ME. To transform ideals into actions.  To inspire hope for the future.  To celebrate the most open…

The Tragedy and Illusion of Facebook

"Things aren't always the way they appear."  No truer words could be spoken following the tragic death of Karen Smith in San Bernardino, CA this week.  She was murdered on her job---in a classroom where she was teaching young students.

What intrigued me about this story was the fact that she and her husband killer, Cedric Anderson were black baby boomers around the same age as my husband and myself.  I was particularly interested in the posts he made on Facebook.  By all accounts, he posted regularly on Facebook about the so-called love and admiration he had for his wife.  He created an image that was clearly contrary to the murderous behavior he demonstrated when he walked into her classroom and killed her.

In a February 27th post, he posted a selfie video and said:  "I love being married to Karen Smith-Anderson!"

March 11 post, he said: "My wife Karen Smith-Anderson is an Angel!!!"

March 12: He posted a youtube song by Sade titled By Your Side and said:…

This Survey Stinks for Baby Boomers

The majority of baby boomers do not wash their underwear enough!  That's what an online survey by Mulberry Cleaners revealed recently.  The results were published in Reader's Digest.

I have to admit I was very surprised to read the results, which indicated 16 percent of middle-aged folks reported NEVER washing their underwear.  Now, 16 percent may not sound like a large number but that's still 16 percent too many, in comparison to 85 percent of millennials who said they toss their undergarments in the laundry after one or two wears.  Only 10.3 percent of millennial women said they never washed theirs, which might make sense if these young women had parents who were enablers and never taught them to do much of anything, especially how to wash clothes.

When it comes to washing bed sheets, 43 percent of women said they wash them every week, compared to seven percent of men who said they had washed their sheets only once in six months.  But even worse than that is the fact th…