I was inspired to speak on this because on Christmas morning, after the kids had opened their presents, as I sat in the a room down the hall, I heard the sound of little voices reading, spelling, and discussing. I immediately thought, those kids are gonna be alright. I felt it because the greatest weapon I have had in my life and that I have seen all of the most successful Black people possess is literacy.

When I use the term literacy I am not just speaking of being able to read. I am speaking if all those skills that it takes to be able to read and comprehend. Those two skills are only beneficial when they are combined. It is not enough to be able to read if you cannot understand what you’re reading. Also, it is not enough to be able to understand if you’re not reading anything to obtain information to comprehend. Literacy is about the exposure, appropriation, and critical analysis of knowledge. That is what makes the difference in how a person fares in the world, especially Black children.

Literacy is about being able to translate to the world through multiple communications vehicles the same message. The complexity of the dual consciousness in which we, as Black people in America, exist is so nuanced that every gesture, mannerism, tone, and word counts. Literacy provides the critical thinking that is necessary to navigate through a world that silently despises who you are and is constantly pressuring you to be what you are not. It is a carefully orchestrated ballet that if performed well will ensure that a Black person can function in America without forsaking who they truly are.

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

  1. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Good insights. I think it was Moses who said “Let my people read”. You might like Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” if you haven’t read it.

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