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dictionary (9K)Illiteracy Does Not Necessarily Mean Unintelligent

When the white man uses the term "illiterate" to describe certain people, it is usually meant from a derogatory standpoint in reference to underdeveloped peoples, the third world and African nations, and more specific, some minority Americans who are of a darker hue. Nevertheless, remember that Webster is their Bible.

In the context of lacking understanding or knowledge of something unfamiliar to ones own culture or routine life, this does not constitute one being unintelligent or incompetent and does not warrant being labeled with what has become a dirty word in American society. The concept of illiteracy applies to many areas of knowledge, and is defined as:

1: the quality or state of being illiterate; especially: inability to read or write

1: having little or no education; especially: unable to read or write
2 a: showing or marked by a lack of familiarity with language and literature b: violating approved patterns of speaking or writing
3: showing or marked by a lack of acquaintance with the fundamentals of a particular field of knowledge.

The most widely accepted definition of illiteracy (based on the root word, illiterate), would be number three: However, American society has given weight to number one as being the prime definition in the English language. Thus, if anyone fits the first definition of illiterate, they are considered uneducated and thereafter unobserved.

Because education is a pillar in the stretch for success in America, depending on one's level of education are we labeled and then shoved into a social class. The problem with this is the first definition is the most narrow-minded definition; it is based wholly on the "American standard."

Definition number three has a broader worldview as referred to having a lack of knowledge in some area of a particular field or life in general. For instance, if one has "a lack of acquaintance with the fundamentals of a particular" culture, they would understandably be illiterate in that culture and not deemed uneducated in terms of academia, but merely in the confines of cultural literacy.

White Americans would be considered illiterate where it pertains to Chinese culture and traditions, yet the Chinese or any other choice of people are more inclined not to undermine the unknowledgeable one. We live in a society that has stipulated definitions according to their own dictionary which determines their worldview overall.

America is illiterate in world relations because they assume that illiteracy of American culture and or Euro-culture means unintelligence. Thereafter, they take for granted the intellectual ability of anyone who lacks the knowledge of American academia. This is not only illiteracy, but displays a profound unitelligence on their part.

To know means to understand. A lack of knowledge means that one has yet to understand that knowledge but does not mean they can never understand that knowledge. Thinking is an art. If a nation of people lacks the ability to think and reason to the point they assume the abilities of others to be less than themselves based on knowledge of themselves, they have then on outsmarted themselves.

© 2005 by CR Hamilton

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