After reading Lyndsey’s post regarding the idea of Literacy and how it exists in different forms in differently-abled lives, I’ve begun to wonder if the same ideology that is behind standardized testing is behind the dominant portrayal of Literacy as being a base-line to determine the abilities of people with very different realities. I have kind of touched on this idea before, but I thoroughly believe, and probably more so after writing all of these posts, that Literacy is a social phenomenon that is driven by the literacies that people acquire through schooling and experience. The ability of a person to function in society and the world and to understand the society and world in which they are functioning can only be determined by them doing just that. I don’t think that Literacy (big L) can be defined in any concrete manner. I feel that it is innately different for different people in different realities. This brings up the question of referring to individuals as “illiterate” or “literate”. Should these phrases only be used in relation to specific subjects and times in a person’s life when their literacies failed them? Can a person be considered literate if he or she lacks the ability to think in both an independent and critical manner? Would they be flat out called illiterate? Probably not.
The words ‘Literacy’ and ‘literacies’ need to be used according to what they actually mean in popular culture and society.