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

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Class #3




In previous classes we have discussed some important hints. Included are:

(1) Assume a comfortable position, but get out of it every eight to ten minutes.

(2) Practice blinking while you read.

(3) If a sentence "loses" you, reread that sentence until you have pinpointed the source of that confusion.

(4) Don't worry about what others might think when you read.

(5) Think about what you read.

(6) Keep a good dictionary within reach.

More Hints

(1) There is no standard speed factor related to reading. Reading is all about recognizing terms and sentences, thinking, understanding and interpreting. The more you read, the better you recognize terms and sentences. The better you recognize terms and sentences, the more capable you are of following a train of thought, understanding what is being said and keeping your interpretations within supportable boundaries.

(2) A reader is not obligated to reach the same conclusions as the writer. A writer builds a bridge that is supposed to take the reader to the understanding the writer is trying to pass along. However, what the writer is trying to say means less, in the final analysis, than what the reader "understands." The better at reading one becomes, the more capable s/he is of supporting the "understanding" s/he gets.

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Class #3 Reading Extract [Top]

[Taken from Not To Be (M. Mbulu), p. 71-72]

The ability to adjust to extenuating circumstances had been an African strong point for thousands of years. Adapting is a proactive response; but beyond a certain limit, a firm position must be maintained. Early Africans adapted while they plotted to rid themselves of white domination. By the 1830s, however, a different reality was emerging. Instead of adapting in a proactive way, Black People had begun demonstrating a preference for "making do". They were becoming resigned to abdicating and submitting, and this at the very time when they were in a position to bring about some serious changes.

But serious changes to the early Africans meant self-government, self-determination, independence. For the Blacks of 1830, serious changes implied much less substantial objectives. In fact, "serious" might be too powerful an adjective. Simply "changes" is what Black People now wanted. The African influences (African individuals, ideas, customs, standards, etc.) had been reduced to a minimum, there was virtually no exposure to life's finer quantities, qualities nor concepts, their processes of analysis were dominated by what they saw and heard [their ancestors remembered what they had been taught in Africa- the most powerful knowledge is hidden], and they had been worn down by the constant struggle against white oppression. Self-government? Black Nationhood? These type objectives required too much energy, too much persistence, too much commitment. What Black People wanted now, more than anything else, was some relief; relief from the enervating burden of non-stop physical and psychological warfare, relief from the heavy responsibility of defending their human rights among people who blotted out their intelligence whenever the issue of race arose, relief from a steady diet of coming up short of reasonable expectations. Without consciously deciding to do so, Black People began to wave the white flag.

Note: Response to March Extract will be posted after the 10th of the month.

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Explanation of Class #3 Extract

A reader of the above extract should pick up on the following concepts.

(1) A positive can easily become a negative when people lose track of their objectives. The extract uses adapting as an example. For early Blacks, adapting was a positive because it was a step toward a higher end. For later Blacks, adapting was a negative because it became an end in and of itself and a way of life.

(2) The expectations of people determine how they imagine and define important terms and what they try to accomplish. Early Blacks were dominated by their African roots. They were educated, had known civilization and equality and had experienced power. Therefore, they imagined A-grade versions of these and other important concepts. The Blacks of the mid 1800s were products of two centuries of slavery and limited exposure. They imagined C-grade versions of the same concepts and passed that on to the generations of Blacks that followed.

Reread the extract!

Questions? Email and list your course title as the subject.

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