In 2002, an illiterate woman named Mukhtaran Mai was punished for something her brother did.
She is illiterate, she is African, she is a stranger in our strange American land, living on the rough edges of our society.
A novelist, she has something Diallo, the illiterate Guinean chambermaid, does not: a sharp pen.
early 15c., "uneducated, unable to read (originally of Latin)," from Latin illiteratus "unlearned, unlettered, ignorant; without culture, inelegant," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + literatus, literally "furnished with letters" (see literate). As a noun meaning "illiterate person" from 1620s. Hence, illiterati (1788).