The authors mention a vital point that I believe relates to my own experience with higher education, “Although members of these oppressed and marginalized groups [African American and Latino] may be skillful readers of social relations and sophisticated problem solvers in community-based contexts, too often they do not experience success at navigating the processes of problem solving in school” (351). I know I experienced this problem, myself. Now that I have the capacity to recognize a literacy event, myself, I see where the system lost me. I was a skillful readers of social relations, I solved sophisticated problems (within my cultural relativity) and even though I maintained these this level of social reading, it did nothing for me academically.

I believe the reason for this is because no matter how much skill I had obtained, the skills I had obtained were ones that I enacted within my social ethos. In other words, they were designed by users who were as oppressed as I was, which means, even though I had a set of tools to socialize and communicate within a certain social circle, those tools would never allow me to gain access within the academic world, because the tools designed for that social group was available to me, because the assessors of my position assumed that I hadn’t the skill to utilize and integrate both.

Majors, Kim, and Ansari go on to say, “When their linguistic, social, and cultural tool kits are recognized, they are too often viewed as localized, impermeable, and harnessable only within context rather than across them” (351), which is to say that the sophisticated skills I learned to socially read my space was only valuable in that space, and these authors are arguing not so. Many instructors, administrators, and/or staff didn’t see my tools/skills as marketable for the space that the status quo had designed for me, so the skills I did have didn’t apply to the ways in which my skills were assessed.

When I took my placement exams for college, I was devastated to learn that even though I had fulfilled the curriculum guidelines and graduated with a sketchy 2.85, I was still unable to be placed in first year college level classes. Even though I felt that I did everything according to the books, on paper, I didn’t measure up. Even though I had maintained social networks that were complex and I did this across contexts, because the rules set in place for those who did live and breathe the “middle class” lifestyle were rules that those particular designers felt left me outside the norm, I was marginalized accordingly. So, in essence, we have been assessing skill sets in a way that only allows us to use a certain amount of them, but ideally promote the acquisition of many. This is a conflict that raises tension among many theorists and scholars, and in my opinion, rightfully so!

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