Reading 101 Textbook: None. Selected writings found online will constitute the textbook. Instructor: Mba Mbulu

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Class #2

 Review

 Lesson

 Explanation

Reading Hints

(1) Don't worry about what others might think when you read. You are reading for your benefit, comprehension or enjoyment, not that of others, so their impression of how you sound, how fast your read, how you pronounce certain terms, or anything of such nature, is meaningless.

(2) To be an effective reader, you have to think about what you read. The person who thinks after s/he has completed an entire book will not understand or appreciate as fully as the person who thinks after each chapter. Likewise, the person who thinks from chapter to chapter will not understand or appreciate as fully as the person who thinks from paragraph to paragraph. Needless to say, then, the person who thinks from sentence to sentence will get the fullest understanding and appreciation as long as s/he interprets what is read within the proper context.

(3) Most good readers keep a good dictionary within reach. That enables them to quickly look up unfamiliar terms and double check the meaning of familiar terms. A good dictionary not only gives meanings of terms, but touches on relevant background/root information as well.

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Class #2 Reading Extract Book: Not To Be p. 69-71 [Top]

It must have seemed to the whites that doom was imminent, because African power seekers were becoming more active and more audacious than ever.

But, fortunately for the whites, they were wrong. The Black Nationalist outbursts of the teens, twenties and early thirties did not represent an intensification of revolutionary energy among Black People. It was not proof that Black People had realized that white people were unable to control them. Instead, these Black revolts represented the last of the African Nationalists who were willing to take what was due them or die trying. Among Black People in general, a transition was taking place and making itself known. For the most part, Black People were going through changes, and the changes We were experiencing kept white people, now vulnerable white people, from suffering the consequences of their wrongs. The monster the whites had created, the monster that they had no way of controlling, was losing its instinct to kill its enemy and gallantly fight for survival.

Several factors contributed to this untimely development. It will suffice to say that, as the years passed into decades and the decades into centuries, the African population in America became less and less African and..... detached. The dominant African in America in 1830 was not the same as the African who arrived here in the 1600s. By 1830, some critical elements of Africanness had been slowly weaned out of Us. The Africans of 1830 did not value self-government like their ancestors because they had never experienced self-government. They did not know what equality was because they were uneducated, or worse, mis-educated. They did not understand what liberty implied because they had never known liberty. The metaphysical infrastructure that had made early enslaved Africans exceptional men and women was not a dominant part of the 1830s African-American. The "world" of most enslaved Blacks in 1830 consisted of white masters, work fields, ragged clothes, huts with cold dirt floors, bare feet, whippings and insults, lack of adequate nourishment, slave auctions, separated families, yearnings to be free. There was nothing healthy, nothing positive in the norm of enslaved Africans. They were not supposed to learn to read and write, and if they learned any way, what they read was white-centric news-views that left Blacks with a mostly warped picture of what was happening locally, nationally and internationally. The Africans enslaved in the 1600s wanted to be free because freedom meant self-government. The 1830s enslaved African wanted to be free because freedom meant doing whatever he or she felt like doing with his/her time. What a phenomenal drop in perspective! [Top]

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Explanation of Class #2 Extract

A sentence that is separated from the paragraph it belongs to can not be correctly interpreted. The first sentence of the this extract was separated from its original paragraph. Any conclusions you reached about the meaning of that sentence are therefore based on understandable but misplaced assumptions.

The reader had no way of knowing that this sentence was removed from the paragraph that defines it. However, don't use that as an excuse it you jumped to assumptions; those assumptions would have led you to erroneous conclusions.

Because the first sentence is out of context, the reader cannot safely say what "monster" whites had created that they had no way of controlling. The paragraphs that follow explain how the "monster" lost its "instinct to kill its enemy and gallantly fight for survival," and label this as an "untimely" development. A good reader cannot gloss over the term "untimely" because it reveals a telling element about the perspective of the author of the piece.

In serious writings, modifiers can never be taken casually. In serious writings, adjectives and adverbs can convey innuendos that carry as much significance as the terms they modify. Good readers develop a particular sensitivity to innuendos that are verifiable and learn to reject those that are not verifiable.

What follows in this extract is a comparison of the Blacks who came to America (the United States) in the 1600s and those who were in the United States in the mid 1800s. The extract characterizes each group, shows how the exposure of the two groups differed and reveals how this different level of exposure determined how each group defined key quality of life terms.

The Blacks who came to America in the 1600s knew what the world was like and determined what was important in life from a broad range of knowledge, experiences, successes and failures. On the other hand, the Blacks of the mid 1800s had limited exposure to a very small world. They knew little, experienced little and accomplished nothing of importance to themselves. They associated "success" with white people and "failure" with Black individuals. Black was not a totality to them, it was separate pieces strayed from here to there. The Blacks of the mid 1800s had become little minded people, and their expectations, aspirations and perceptions reflected that reality.

If the Blacks of the 1600s and the Blacks of the mid 1800s had used the same terms, they would have been referring to different realities. When the Blacks of the 1600s talked about freedom, they knew what freedom meant; the Blacks of the mid 1800s did not. When the Blacks of the 1600s talked about self-determination, they knew what self-determination meant; the Blacks of the mid 1800s did not. If the Blacks of the 1600s had talked about integration, they would have known what integration means; the Blacks of the mid 1800s did not.

The extract suggests that this difference of exposure and perception, etc., explains why the Blacks of today are seeking objectives that fall well short of those sought by the Blacks of the 1600s. People with high value systems and high impressions of themselves seek high ends. The lower their value system and self-esteem, the lower is their perception of what life has to offer and what they can accomplish.

Reread the extract!

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