What is Cultural Literacy
Can it Truly Exist ?
Cultural Literacy. What is it? How can one define it? Is it knowing the answers to questions such as: who are Joseph Stalin and Frederick Douglass? Who fought in WWI? What was the Louisiana purchase? What is the second commandment? Name an amendment to the constitution? Try this on for size, who is the host of Total Request Live on MTV? Who is J. Lo engaged to? Cultural literacy is knowledge of what one should know in order to be a functional member of an educated society. It includes an understanding of one's language, grammar, pronunciations, syntax in speech, and the basic listening, reading and writing skills along with the knowledge of mathematics and history. Many argue whether cultural literacy is possible or not, whether it can truly exist. The whole concept of cultural literacy is an important one. Especially to America. America, being the great melting pot that it is needs to have this for everybody. We are constantly receiving new people into our country and as they come, our cultures "rub off" on each other, they begin to intertwine with another. By understanding these different groups we understand their cultures and we become more culturally literate (to the other persons culture) and our cultures actually mix. America is great because of this. The concept of cultural literacy is an important one to understand in order to make America a better place to live for everybody. To answer the question of whether or not it is possible for cultural literacy to exist, we need to break it down. We have to know what it means and who it applies to. We also need to understand how it works. The works of E.D. Hirsch, Jr., "Cultural Literacy (excerpt)," and Jay Chaskes, "The First-year Student as Immigrant," expose the definition of what cultural literacy is and how this definition varies as it comes across various cultures, groups, members and individuals in a society. Cultural literacy is possessing the...
Cited: Chaskes, Jay. "The First-Year Student as Immigrant." From Inquiry to Argument. McMeniman, Linda. Allyn & Bacon, 1999. Pg.29
Hirsch Jr., E.D. "Cultural Literacy (excerpt)." From Inquiry to Argument. McMeniman, Linda. Allyn & Bacon, 1999. Pg. 214
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