The article ???They Don??™t Read??? was put out on the internet to gain the African Americans. It states that blacks do not read and because of that blacks are ignorant, greedy and selfish. However, I strongly disagree with the inaccurate opinions expressed in this article. There are points in this the article that could be true about some blacks but they can easily be applied to any race or ethnic group. Blacks have had to overcome many adversities amongst themselves and their slave masters. What the writer of this article fails to mention is that blacks, as slaves, were not allowed to read. In fact if slaves were caught reading or being taught to read, they would be beaten or even killed. This created great animosity amongst blacks. So for the writer to boldly imply that we don??™t read while having knowledge of our past obstacles during slavery and having the disadvantage in learning to read that in today??™s times, we as blacks are ignorant is an unfair accusation. In the Willie Lynch Letter, the definitive roles were determined by skin shades, age groups, and gender. This caused blacks to have hostility among slaves rather than shift the blame to their slave masters. Although we??™ve overcome our past inhibitions, it is evidently clear that we have developed into a great race of people who are wonderful thinkers who read consistently, who are well informed and not ignorant, and who does not thrive off of greed.
First, the article points out that blacks do not read. It is my opinion that blacks do read and they read very well. Rather than say blacks don??™t read I think it should be stated that their choice of literature, in my opinion, is more of the issue. As some blacks have come across this letter and other reading material proves that we do stay informed through reading. What the writer should have pointed out is that maybe some of our choice of reading material may not be the best selections but that would only apply to some lower income black areas where limited resources exist. In other economical wealthy areas more accessible resources exist which allow for blacks to be informed. We have plenty of well established black individuals who provide instruments through literature to better oneself, to promote self wealth and unity. These writing are provided in various ways. Just as in the classroom where differentiated instruction is imperative, so is reading material to accommodate the learner. The reality is some people choose not to read as much because of what is being provided. Many of the provided material display biases. These biases can either be social, economical, and even ethnic. Either way we as blacks are generally drawn to things that are of interests, things that benefit their individual situation, lifestyle, culture, religion, etc. In certain areas the literature that is being provided only targets other interests groups thus not being beneficial for blacks in these areas.
Next, ignorance is defined as a lack of knowledge or information. The writer states that, ???they are contained by ignorance???, which is true. However, this can be applied to all races in one sense or another. Today we have numerous prominent African Americans who have overcome adversity and ignorance simply by becoming aware or various rules, regulations, practices and principles in place within the laws of the land. As Black Americans it is our responsibility to disprove such beliefs that we are ignorant. To some degree everyone is ignorant depending on the topic at hand. There??™s no one person that knows everything. Some of our forefathers and infamous women have accomplished this successfully. To name a few, Dr. Martin Luther King- activist, clergymen and prominent leader, Frederick Douglas-profound orator, writer, abolitionist, statesman, believer in the equality of all people, W.E.B. Dubois-scholar, journalist, sociologist, activist, first African American graduate of Harvard University, worked effortlessly to promote nation self determination, Oprah Winfrey-multi-award winning talk show host, was at one point the only black billionaire, broke barriers by owing her own television show as a single owner, Jo Ann Robinson-civil rights activist who helped Rosa Parks by mimeographing 35,000 handbills and called for a boycott of the Montgomery buses, Ella Baker- a civil rights and human activist who helped mentor people such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Diane Nash and Bob Mosses, etc, and last but not least our 44th President Barack Obama-who was previously a constitutional law professor, lawyer, author and state senator. All of these individuals have received such accolades not just because of names sake but because the education opportunities that they took advantage off. There are more to mention that proves we can, will and are continuing to do great things and none of these things could be accomplished by being ???ignorant??? as the writer suggests. Many Black American possess the qualities to be the recognized as successes of today. The key is to work hard and diligently and to strive to become better every day.
Third, in general African Americans are assumed to be greedy, in that they are concerned with self and success statuses attributed to their own doing. In slavery, as a group slaves shared a common denominator which was to be free. However, with the growing opportunities given to light skinned blacks verses dark skinned blacks, it created friction between amongst themselves. Those slaves that were treated better than most were sometimes looked upon negatively. Much jealousy plagued upon many slaves and their families. This would explain the difficulty in Blacks successfully working together. This is an opinion that was expressed in the Willie Lynch Letter. Today we have various community organizations that work and service the community including those in need. These community organizations have been created to do a number of things. For example the NAACP, focuses on the equality and advancement of colored people. Although the focus is African Americans, the NAACP has been noted to protecting the rights of various groups. Another example is The National Association of Black Journalists who provides mentoring, scholarships, student projects, conducts seminars to promote change and expressiveness through the art of writing. These are examples but are not limited to the ways in which we as Black Americans have successfully come together for a common goal and have develop excellent teaching and learning relationships within the community.
Therefore, based on the above evidence provided, it is in my opinion that blacks do read, we just don??™t read enough. In fact, blacks read very well. Blacks have become very knowledgeable throughout the years and this can be proven with the success we see today with our Black leaders, community officials, educators, etc. In addition, to the accolades that these black Americans have been awarded, it is important to remember that through educational teachings our leaders have proven that we can aspire to higher heights. This can consistently be done by blacks staying informed through reading, not being ignorant to those things that play a role in self determination, self education and by continuing to work together in organizations that benefit the masses, so that greed does not super cede the main objective in servicing individuals. Although we??™ve overcome our past inhibitions, today we have developed into a great race of people who are wonderful thinkers and doers who read consistently, who are well informed and not ignorant, and who does not thrive off of greed.
1. Lawanda Staten, How to Kill Your Willie Lynch (1997); Kashif Malik Hassan-el, The Willie Lynch Letter and the Making of a Slave (1999); Marc Sims, Willie Lynch: Why African-Americans Have So Many Issues! (2002); Alvin Morrow, Breaking the Curse of Willie Lynch (2003); and Slave Chronicles, The Willie Lynch Letter and the Destruction of Black Unity (2004).
2. The article, ???Blacks Don??™t Read??? can be found at:
3. The article ???How to Keep a Black Man Down??? can be found at:
4. Journal of Negro Education, The: Issues from Winter 2010
Education Parity and Economic Disparities: Correcting Education-Attainment Discrepancies among Black People in the United States
by Toldson, Ivory A; Snitman, Aviella Winter Issue, Jan., 2010