The ‘Hard-Knock Life’ of Illiteracy

Reading proficiency of fourth-graders is low

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Written by Lydia Carlis, an educator and the chief of research and innovation for AppleTree Institute, a nonprofit early education research organization in Washington, D.C.

My Facebook feed had been lit up with negative commentary on the 2014 “Annie” movie remake. Going online to read reviews, I saw more dissent. The commenters raised an obvious point: “When we finally get a black ‘Annie,’ she’s illiterate.” I was offended as well. How could the producers be so insensitive to black children? Why did they have to make the black Annie illiterate?

[Related: My Black is Beautiful: Tatyana Ali and Patrice Yursik Imagine a Future]

Black pride aside, my 15-year-old daughter was not letting up on her quest to see “Annie” 2.0 as a family. Yes, I did attempt to get her to see it solo, while her father and I went to see Chris Rock‘s “Top Five.” I was not very interested in seeing “Annie Goes Hip-Hop,” and after reading that the new, black Annie was reimagined as a child unable to read or write, I was even less thrilled, so much so that I considered making my daughter wait to see it on video. I was taking a stand.

But my daughter was not having it. I have myself to blame: We have our annual holiday-family-movie tradition, in particular our ritual viewing of “Annie.” We went to see the movie the day after Christmas.

Read more at Education Week

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