“The best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in a book. We now live in the Information Age. They have gained the opportunity to read any book on any subject through the efforts of their fight for freedom, yet they refuse to read. There are numerous books readily available, but few read consistently, if at all”.
This is just a small portion of a long letter that was read on a New York radio station some time ago by a Caucasian white man. The title was “Blacks don’t read: They are still our slaves”.
The first time I read this on internet, I got very infuriated by the discriminatory opinions of the writer but with a second thought, I realized that he had a valid point. Many people, especially blacks are ignorant on many issues because they do not read. This is pathetic but sadly true.
Let’s be frank to one another dear readers. When was the last time you read a book? How many of us read today at least one book in a month? Do you have a budget for books or any other reading materials?
I come from a country where it is so common to see every morning people grouped in front of newspaper vendors to be able to catch a glimpse of at least the headlines of the numerous newspapers of the day.
It is even so common to see people walking around town with a newspaper with them. In buses, hair salons, waiting areas in offices etc, it is often that you see people reading.
I must admit that this is something your columnist doesn’t’ often see here. The last time I talked to a friend concerning one interesting article in The New Times, her answer shocked me;
“You know what Sandra, when I receive every morning this newspaper, I just glanced through the titles and look for tenders that might be interesting for my business; I do not really read the articles.”
We can all recognize that the general message in the above sarcastic description of the black community is thought-provoking as reading is considered in most cases as a mere primary leisure activity. I am an African and I know that in our culture, we communicate primarily by oral means.
We rather place value on what people say or on what we hear rather than what we find out through print. As a result, we lose sight on the value of reading and getting information by ourselves.
The tragedy today is that, many people especially Africans have no passion to read. In today’s world we receive so much information via radio, television and multimedia experiences yet none of these avenues has the ability to educate as the fundamental skill of reading.
Reading has many advantages. Reading helps to travel to lands far away in the minds of readers. Reading helps to open up to other cultures. Thanks to technology today, we can read and travel a lot through reading via internet.
With my new phone for instance, I have the impression that I have access to every information in real time in my hands. Just a small click and the answer to my curiosity is right there in my hands. I often say that with Google today, we have no excuse of being ignorant.
Even in these days of multimedia, reading is the most essential skill to acquire knowledge. The internet has made information to be freely available to anyone who can log on. With the advent of websites and e-books, reading should be an easy and simple activity for everyone.
Reading helps in mental development and is known to stimulate the brains. It is often advisable to indulge in at least half an hour of reading a day to keep abreast of information.
For instance, it is observed that children who read have comparatively higher IQs. They are more creative and do better in school. It is for this reason that it is recommended that parents inculcate the importance of reading to their children in the early years.
Dear readers, if you don’t read you are definitely missing out on a great way of learning as well as a wonderful way of improving your life and business. Books, newspapers, magazines, internet can instruct, inform, entertain, motivate and inspire.
One of the most basic foundations of power in business comes from knowing information and controlling it. Develop the habit of reading. Resolve to never let a day go by without reading something and you will see the effect on your knowledge building.
Remember knowledge is power!
The author is a customer service consultant working in Rwanda.