“Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names” (Shah 1). Malcolm X describes his experience and struggle not being able to read or write until he got into prison. All he could ever do in prison was sit there, so he figured he would make light of his incarceration. So what he did was study a dictionary and read books to gain a better understanding and learn much more than he had before. Then with doing that, it made him feel free and empowered with his newly found intelligence now knowing what other people had discussed and had read.
Malcolm X came up in a segregated time in the United States where black men and women weren’t allowed to be well educated or earn much of a living. Only having an 8th grade education can keep you trapped in your own mind. Therefore, the significance of literacy is immeasurable due to the fact that it is limitless on what you can do with it. Reading and writing has impacted our lives forever and in so many different ways. Write a letter, text a number, or do homework in a textbook. All these situations and more are due to the fact that people over time and now can read and write.
The way we first started communication was through drawings known as hieroglyphics; that then transformed over time into different letters and we could finally write down information. That advancement led us to be able to keep records, talk to people without being face to face, and just write down information. “In my slow, painstaking, ragged handwriting, I copied into my tablet everything printed on the first page, down to the punctuation marks” (Malcolm X 641). Literacy was hard for him to pick up because it was new to him, and also he didn’t have the resources or materials we do now to help him.
Communication since then has exploded to the point of other people learning how to read and write other languages and schools being opened to teach a number of new people how to read and write. Communication therefore led us to advancements in communication. We can now talk to someone halfway around the world without spending a fortune for travel fares. The human race in total can read and write so well that we have taught machines like computers, cars, and phones to now read; something we didn’t have just around 20 years ago.
Without communication there could be no advancements and without advancements there could be no communication. Therefore, learning to read and write is key in everything we do and come up with. My cousin also had a problem with reading and writing all through school, and even after he graduated. Unlike Malcolm X, when he was younger he kept trying to give up on doing it because it was frustrating and confusing to him. He hated having to learn something he never understood properly and regrets trying to give up for all those years because it’s still a problem now.
Having that happen to him has deterred me from me giving up on something I don’t understand so it doesn’t get worse for me or stay a problem forever. Cognate to Malcolm X, I tried over and over to be at least semi-literate in everything I could. For example, when I was in middle school I would always watch the Lincoln high school NJROTC spin rifles and I knew I would do that one day. So in ninth grade I practiced hard and finally learned how to do just about everything they can do and was able to be in the parade.
Also cognate to Malcolm X, I believe learning to be literate in anything takes hard work, concentration, and dedication to the fact that you have to pay attention and learn what to do. Works cited page Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats. ” Global Issues. 07 Jan. 2013. Web. 22 Sep. 2013. . X, Malcolm. “Literacy behind Bars. ” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Reading. Ed. Richard Bullock and Maureen Daly Goggin. 3rd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013. 460-63. Print.