People who have difficulty reading and writing are to be issued with 'literacy cards' which they can present in dealings such as a bank transaction. Shouldn't these be called 'illiteracy' cards?
Well, no, because the aim is to remove the stigma. The trouble is when stigmas are removed problems grow. The obvious example I would use is the stigma of illegitimacy. We banned the term in the 60s. Fair enough. It is no fault of the child if its parents weren't married. But I don't need to tell you what the results of de-stigmatising unmarried or even unpartnered procreation have been. On balance, not that hot.
Stigmas can serve useful purposes. They steer people away from undesirable outcomes. They also help avoid clamours for government to legislate or ban every damned thing. Removing the stigma associated with not being able to read and write may seem like a caring and compassionate thing to aim for but will it really serve the individuals best interests?
It looks like an acceptance of the failure of the education system. People arrive at primary school without knowing the alphabet but we say that's ok. They'll catch up. Then secondary school unable to spell but they'll catch up. Then at WINZ, where we put them through catch up courses. Then...still can't read and write....that's ok...here, have a card. It's not your fault. You are just differently-abled.
Some people have particular difficulties eg dyslexia but I wouldn't mind betting that a good many have failed to learn because they come from families that put no value on education. They have multiple problems.
I can see the merits in practice for the person being presented with the card ie the bank teller but in the larger scheme of things, regretfully, I think this is more bottom of the cliff stuff. Managing problems rather than trying to resolve them.
May 23 in history
3 hours ago