Thursday, 05 May 2011
If you've dated a native of Detroit, there's a 47% chance that they were functionally illiterate. A new report from the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund concludes that about 47% of Detroiters can't fill out basic forms or applications such as work papers, or read the directions on prescription bottles. It's an alarming figure which gives us a glimpse into the Motor City's work climate and steady decline.
The Fund's director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, pointed out that only 10% of the functionally illiterate have gotten any sort of help to remedy the problem. Given the sorry state that our American educational system is in, this isn't surprising. Bureaucrats toss money at the problem believing that their experiences with hookers and blow apply to our schooling system, but it only serves to stupefy and condition our youth into unthinking clones through standardized testing, sort of like a General Motors assembly line. As it stands, students and teachers aren't treated as individuals, and creativity has been further stifled by the "No Child Left Behind Act" of 2001.
So what should we do to keep Michigan from becoming a landfill state? Turn it into the world's largest Walmart, of course! While this solution is absurd, I think it has some competition on its heels.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently proposed that in order to stimulate economic growth and build jobs in Detroit, we should open up the floodgates to all immigrants, just as long as they live in Detroit for 5-10 years. This would serve as a way to repopulate faltering cities and immigration policy would come at no cost.
As if Detroit didn't have a problem with reading English already... this would only serve to worsen the literacy problem. Even Chrysler and Eminem couldn't save Detroit with their Super Bowl ad.
While I could rant in great detail about public education and immigration, this particular study made me think about relationships, and how important it is for a partner to be literate. In this example, let's say that your boyfriend/girlfriend presents his or herself well, can carry on conversations, and is capable of performing most tasks- except for filling out work/tax papers and reading Emily Dickinson poems. What's your course of action?
Normally, we don't spend first dates analyzing a person's ability to read (restaurant menus don't count, they're easy). We like to get a feel for the individual, learn a little more about their life, and possibly share a kiss at the end of the day. But what happens on that fateful day when you discover that reading Frog and Toad books is beyond your partner's grasp on the English language?
This is an interesting question to me because we usually assume that the people we meet can read beyond a 3rd grade literacy stage. Based on the female profiles I've personally seen on dating websites, it's apparent that a great deal of women (anecdotal evidence, tee-hee) value the ability to read and write at a higher stage. It's hard to separate the functionally literate from those who use "Internet speak," but plenty of profiles have a disclaimer stating that messages won't be replied to if the person doesn't use proper grammar. The beauty of it is that oftentimes, these people don't use proper grammar themselves.
Is it grounds to end a relationship, or do you encourage them to learn? Perhaps you simply don't care and want to continue revving up your partner's engine to some Motown classics. Or, uhhh... maybe you're illiterate as well, in which case you probably stopped reading past the word "functionally." Wait, this gives me the freedom to say anything I want to nearly half of Detroit's population! The Lions suck, Faygo tastes like hobo-piss stirred in fetus juice with kidney stones serving as the rocks, and God hates you. But keep voting Democrat, we love you for that. Just do it, like Nike and General Motors outsourcing jobs to third-world countries.
Democrats will solve all your problems. Oh, wait.
As a writer, I can certainly say that I would be bothered by this. It doesn't mean that I think I'm better than anyone else; I simply have this preference and would like to share my writing with a partner who can read and understand it. While my references to pee-pee and fetuses might be easily understood, I don't always fiddle around with puerile, execrable and grandiloquent rhetoric.
Have you ever faced this sort of situation before? What would you do? Is Michael Bloomberg an idiot?
Nuñez Love Doctor.
Certified with a PhD in Bloombergisms and Juggalos.