So it's not their fault they're dumb

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"the term 'illiterate' suggest that persons belonging to the class it designates are deviants, defined by something they lack....without writing, the literate mind would not and could not think as it does"

pg 316, Ong, Writing Material

This first page gave me a lot to think about. For some reason, this passge reminded me of a certain group of people in my high school. There are a lot of poor, illiterate people in my hometown. The kids who couldn't read were stuck in Special Ed alongside the kids who had to wear helmets, ate their own boogers, and flashed other students in the hallways. Yet many of these illiterates seemed normal. In fact, I ate lunch for weeks and had normal teenage conversations with this girl Nicole before I even found out she couldn't read. I was baffled; she was as normal as you or me, but she was stuck in special ed and treated as some kind of fdumb freak by a lot of people because she couldn't read. Yes, Nicole's grades were not good at all, but that was not because she was "dumb". For many, dumb means you are born stupid. Humans are not born stupid. We begin life with our mind as a blank slate, a dry sponge if you will. As life progresses, we learn by observing what those around us do. Then, at about age 4 or 5, we are sent off to school to learn by a different method-reading. Reading means the accumulation of knowledge. So illiterates are not "stupid". Their minds just are still somewhat blank.

So Nicole appeared dumb because she hadn't learned to read. In reality, she appeared dumb because she didn't read. If Nicole someday learned how to, she would catch up to the rest of us.

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1 Comments

Jeremy Barrick said:

Why is it considered a handicap? No, I agree that they are not stupid, just misunderstood, or ignored by the rest of society. We can be thankful that there are foundations that help people that cannot read.

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