Writer’s Name: Dominique Wilkins
Title: Reading is Power
Once upon a time, there was a very painful statement made toward African-Americans. It was: "Hide your money in your books, because Black people don't read.” Not that they CAN'T read, but DON'T read! I am blessed that you took the time to read my article. Reading it did not guarantee you a job, a chance to win the lottery, or anything else to further yourself in this world. You read it out of curiosity because you were seeking information or for pure enjoyment. Whatever your reason may be for reading this, you are doing it voluntarily. More than likely, you LIKE to read! Since you do like to read, that statement above, either made you sad, angry or nod your head in agreement as you think of someone you know that makes that statement true! Though, I must immediately interject that the saying does have some truth to it, but not entirely. The part that makes it not entirely true is the fact that, it does not pertain solely to Black people. In today's world, as we see such great advancements, we also eyewitness such great digressions!
In 2012, you don't have to walk a country mile to the library to borrow a book or wait impatiently for someone to return it on time for you to be able to participate in the hot topic book discussions hovering around the author's words! You have limitless ways of getting information at your fingertips! People can go on their electronic device and with "one-click" they can download millions of eBooks to that one handheld device to enjoy at their leisure. No line. No wait. An eBook can be shared millions of times without having to worry about being sold out or waiting on shipping. Instant gratification! Yet, people have spent hundreds of dollars on these ipads and iphone like devices and have no idea how to read a book on them, with no desire to learn...
Everything is your way, right away, yet it doesn't increase literacy. Though I must admit, in contrast-Youtube is doing rather well! It hurts my heart to utter these words of truth. There's a great book out now, it gets great reviews and everyone who touches it feels as if their hands will instantly turn to gold! The book is being sold in paperback and hardcover, while the ebook sells for less than the price of a McDonald's value meal! I stand here and ask how many people do you think have read it and it? It's called Mother In-Law Guilty of Murder. It has all of the drama your friends involve you in at home, the laughter you get from listening to a standup comedian, and the roller coaster rides you’d find at Six Flags. Many have heard of it and think it sounds good, but how many of them, do you think have actually bought or made an attempt to read it? Sadly, the answer is very few.
The lack of desire to read a book, is going to be the death of us. If you do not read your mail, how would you know the sheriff is coming to evict you on the day of your party? If you do not read the newspaper, how would you know that your wife is divorcing you and if you don't respond, she will rake you over the coals? If you do not read a book, how can you take that vacation, in this rapidly declining economy, that you cannot physically afford to take, but can easily get lost into an exciting place overseas in your mind by reading? Ray Bradbury wrote a book called Farenheit 451: The rate at which books burn. He said, "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." Now let that marinade!
It baffles me to see people of all ages say, "I'm bored!" How could you be bored and the library is now online!! You can order books on tape too!! I remember when I had this job and children at home, with a long list of things to do. I felt overwhelmed, in view of the fact that I could not find any room for “me time.” That is until I discovered books on tape!! Though I could not READ the book, I was able to LISTEN to them as I multitasked at work! What a happy girl I was! I was never bored and I would often visit so many countries throughout the week and live so many lives! By Sunday, I thought I was bipolar. I had so many personalities within me! Through these books, I became smarter with every word that I digested. My vocabulary increased because that con artist would use different words to make him seem wealthy and intelligent. My jokes were good, since Lil Johnny- the crowd pleaser had so many that he would use at the perfect moment, that a few of them stuck with me. I even knew some "little did you know" facts stored from Rosie's attempt to get on that game show! Books are wonderfully addictive. Who wouldn't want to get high off of them?!
I've been out of school for over fourteen years now. I've been told that anything you don't use, you lose. Unless of course you take a refresher course through books! For example, you'd think that after fourteen years, I’d forget the proper way of how to communicate on paper. Although I had not been using my writing skills, I had still been reading. My mind has retained the important rules and reading has brushed me up on the rest. It's true. I recall communicating with my son's teacher, via email, quite a few times about some issues that he was having in the classroom. I did not think anything of it, except for the fact that she was not my friend and I knew that I could not use a lot of abbreviations in our emails so that she would not lose the point of the message. So, when report card day came and we met, my son’s teacher told me that she would have a fight on her hands when she needed to pry him away from a book during the time for other lessons. She let me know that she appreciated his love for a good book and knew that he got it from me, for she could tell the way that I wrote in my emails that I was no dummy. I obviously read too.
I end this rant on literacy by saying this: In Denzel Washington's movie, "The Book of Eli," he would die to protect the bible. The villain would kill everyone in his path to get the last bible. No one could read after the books had been destroyed so many years before. So the villain who could read and knew that if he could get his hands on the greatest book and read its powerful words, he could control the world! Everyone would rely on him to read and deliver the profound messages, which he could misconstrue for his own sinister purposes. How would you know that you were being scammed, bamboozled and run amuck if you don't read? Knowledge is power. Reading is knowledge. It is crucial to read at every stage of your life, so that you will not lose your power...