Thursday, April 25, 2013

African American Literacy Rates

I read a journal article that gave a statistic on literacy which caught me off guard “47.4% of African Americans had adequate literacy, compared with 88.8% of non–African Americans” For African Americans to be have literacy rates that are almost half that of the rest of the population shows that there is still a problem within our society concerning racial education equality. This statistic bothers me further because it helps people who are still racist justify their beliefs that African Americans are sub-par citizens, and will probably feel as though this research has proven their point. However, I see that this is a continuation with the problem of racial equality in the system. With literacy rates this low, it becomes an issue that needs addressing, less our society wants to allow racist to feel themselves correct. The conclusion this study made that having lower literacy prevents a person from being able to be competent with advance directive. This means that African Americans are about half as likely so succeed further in life because the job market only promotes those who can achieve a higher standard, and not being able to perform the more advance tasks needed.
                This idea also promotes the idea that education systems are failing African American youth, and the depth of the problem shows that this is not an isolated issue for the south. Furthermore, once the education system has not given these children the adequate literacy there is not a second attempt to education the illiterate population. I am not sure what the appropriate response should be for this issue, but I do believe that if pressure is not put on this issue than it is not likely for the percentage to rise. The education system is one area in which can be improved, but without screaming racism it is hard to get the school system to focus more attention on African American students. Another possibility is to have the African American community address the issue, and close ranks in order to create a method that would help those whom have been failed by the education system to acquire the adequate level of literacy so that the community is not further stuck. This method would require that the African American community self-funded its efforts, methods that Booker T. Washing and Marcus Garvey promoted decades ago.
                I do not believe that any of us think that African Americans cannot be educated to compete like the rest of society, but simply believing that they can has clearly not properly addressed the issue.


  1. I think this problem of education is complicated with so many other factors, such as jobs & salaries and housing situations. It is all connected in a never ending cycle. If an African American is born into a low-income household in a poorer community, then that community will be zoned for a school that matches it. These schools are often forgotten about the state and little is done to help improve them. If said African American graduates from the school, he has a weak education that suits him for a low salary job which entails a poorer quality of life which includes living in a poor community. I think this cycle can be broken if more attention is paid to these schools that are in poorer communities and providing the students with a better education and the means to advance themselves and have a higher quality of life.

  2. Educational inequity has most definitely been and still is a huge problem in this nation. Many times people will do all the talking about the problems and discuss potential solutions to the problem, yet will not make one solitary move to address the issue. Sometimes what happens is that people will make moves to address the issue but not be as effective in fixing the problem. There are a number of organizations looking to address educational inequities and have a done a decent job doing it.

    The issue that lies at the heart of the problem is that people want to do something about the literacy but not doing anything about it. What I mean is that people want to take the time out to make plans to help educate those and even begin to educate but then will not stay around long enough to see the continuation of the education. You can't just start and stop in the middle of helping someone learn to drive and expect them to know all driving techniques. In the same sense, you cannot just stop educating others. You've got to keep the process going. And its not just a matter of book sense but common sense. You've got to teach people about how to balance a check book or how to successfully conduct an interview. It's going to be a process but its a doable process.