To be fair, it ain’t just Black folks, and I don’t mean to be on some #AllIlliteratesMatter shit when you asked me about Black people specifically, but I think this is relevant.
The US is now a post-literate society, meaning that most people in this nation were taught to read, they learned to read; but they never read and thus their reading comprehension is lost, or erodes over time.
Now, Black folks in this nation don’t dictate policy and agendas for the US, we just along for the ride…on the back of the societal bus; so don’t blame us.
There was a time when Black Scholars and Revolutionaries were fucking rockstars among Black people, well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there was a time when you could make a living and hold respectable status within our community by engaging in scholarship on behalf of the Black community. There was a time when the Hood was full of independent Black bookstores, lecture houses, publishing companies, and independent libraries.
But, after the uprisings in the 60s the White Elites decided that they wanted a population that was capable of complex actions, but not critical thinking. So we have doctors, scientists, and scholars who can do their jobs, but cannot understand or even properly critiques the very Systems they world to sustain. This dumbing down was not just for the middle-classes, but also for the masses.
My great grandfather was not a schooled man, but he had a personal library, he read journals, he clipped articles, he followed, supported, and was very proud of Black scholars.
OH, and since the quality of our literacy has degraded, so has the quality of our scholars by and large.
As far as implementing their programs and ideas; we actually make some sincere efforts to do so, but we failed to anticipate and counter White opposition to those efforts, but that’s a whole different discussion (COINTELPRO is still in full effect).
Final note, one way to return our community to pro-literacy or to reawaken their appreciation for Black scholars and Black scholarship is for the few of us who still read and follow the scholars to make their ideas tangible for our communities. That means the few must better unify, coordinate, pool our resources, and build; that’s all.
Oh, and we need to stop behaving like groupies and begin to conduct ourselves as true students of our Revolutionary Scholars.