Illiteracy of the Unknown

Illiteracy of the Unknown

Our Society Has Forgotten How To Recognize What It Doesn't Know It Doesn't Know
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In the age of fake news and alternative facts, it is easy to brand others as ignorant and stupid for holding beliefs based on asininity and irrationality. However, the absence and lacking of knowledge is not fairly portrayed by the definition of "ignore-ance" alone, the ignoring of information and data. Nor does stupidity adequately convey the problems of our societies grasp on personal expanses of knowledge.

Illiteracy is left as the only competent word to describe the problem of our society in terms of a lacking of knowledge. This is not to be mistaken and as any form of insult, given illiteracy is something we are all born with and we must all constantly work to dissolve and reverse. But the weight of ideas in the merit of their value cannot be associated with the individual producing the ideas. Not to state the origin thought process of the idea is to be removed from the usage, rather placing the legitimacy of the idea as it.

The point of recognizing illiteracy is not a means of insulting or branding with some derogatory term; it is simply the recognition of the limitations of our own knowledge. The egos of many resist recognizing this fact, and assert their opinions and commentary statements as if they have equal weight of those who contains knowledge and a level of literacy over topics at hand. Not to be mistaken with the disregarding of opinions, it must simply be recognize that the inherent right an individual has for asserting their opinion does not mean that the opinion itself as a philosophical idea that has weight in and of itself. Literacy builds the strength of ideas and the complexity of thought in which ideas form and procreate.

Self initiation of learning is the only way illiteracy can be reversed and prevented. We all must recognize when we are limited by our own thought and knowledge. We must humble ourselves to learning more about the world; to gain the complexity and the wide perspectives required to accurately and confidently deal with the situations we face in daily life, and within the greater sphere of human society and civilization.

Cover Image Credit: Sk1zzo - DeviantArt

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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First-Generation Kids of Brown Parents Are Bridging the Gap Between 'Traditional' and 'Modern'

Speaking as a first-generation child of Indian parents, it's going to be a rough and rocky road for us all.

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I didn't realize or think about what it would be like being the first generation in my entire lineage to live in a country other than India. It just never occurred to me that this was a bigger deal than I thought it was. Yes, I would be living on the opposite side of the world than most my family members, such as my grandparents. But growing up in this country with parents that grew up in India, this is more than just a geographical distance between my family members and I.

My parents left India and came to the United States to ensure that their children (my brother and I) would have more opportunities and live a better life. That kind of transition is definitely not easy because they had to abandon their home, their language, their family, and their country to come to a completely foreign land. It required a lot of struggle, sacrifices and a hell of a lot of courage to do this. And I am forever grateful.

But in a way, this is going to be a way more difficult path for my brother and me, along with any other first-generation children of Indian parents. Not in the sense that we will have to uproot our lives to move across the world, but we will have to face a lot of societal and traditional issues. Right now, it seems as if we don't necessarily belong anywhere. We are different from the other people our age whose families immigrated to the U.S. hundreds of years ago. But we are also different from our parents because they cannot relate to us and we cannot relate to them.

While our parents grew up in a land where things are done a certain way and traditional rules must be followed, it is a little different for us. Growing up in a "melting pot" country where there is diversity of race, religion, and thoughts and ideas, we are constantly exposed to new things.

We were always given the freedom to think and say what we believed and wanted. We have a lot more room for expression than our parents or grandparents ever did. But even though our parents came to this country and were exposed to these thoughts, they stuck with the beliefs they always grew up with because it is a part of their identity. For us, it's a little different because we grew up and surrounded ourselves with all kinds of new people and thoughts.

As amazing and expressive it feels to have this freedom, it also makes it more difficult for first-generation kids because we are going to have to stand up to tradition and introduce these new ideas to not only our parents to all of society. These ideas include dating and love marriages, the extent of religious beliefs and our own faith in God, how to raise kids, distribution of responsibilities in a family where both the husband and wife work, etc.

Our families have done things a certain way for generations and generations, and for the first time, this is going to be disrupted. There is going to be a change in tradition, a revolution. And it's going to be us first-generation children of Indian families that are going to have to bridge the gap between "traditional" and "modern." It's going to be a difficult road, but in the end, it will be worth it because our future kids will have a more open-minded family and society to be a part of.

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