Cultural literacy is described as the capacity to connect oneself with cultures not because of rote learning but due to an extensive understanding of the expressions and informal elements of a particular culture as well. Even though history, language, and literature are helpful ways of attaining an extensive understanding of culture, it is inadequate if somebody desires to obtain the cultural literacy position. It is uniformly, if not more, essential to be capable of communicating using the general idioms and references of the culture which people of that culture practice.
Schweizer (52) formed Cultural Literacy Theory where he claimed that for people to value a text and acquire real literacy, they should not only have the necessary reading skills, but also have background understanding which hails from a general background of the real information which is mutually essential. This basic understanding allows people to present their different diagrams of the world to the book or content they are reading and hence understanding the content better. For instance, in the American comedy program, “The Simpsons,” people who do not possess cultural literacy have a lot of challenges understanding several jokes, but if they abruptly create jokes regarding Indian society, several American viewers would be mutually confused, for example.
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Another instance may be traced back in the 18th century when the United States was attempting to influence France to hold its cause in the War of Independence; several educated envoys were requested to go to Paris but they were fruitless (Schweizer 52). In the long run, Benjamin Franklin was requested to pay a visit to Paris and even though he did not speak or was familiar with the French language, he understood and perceived the French culture. These two examples indicate the way cultural literacy varies from the common rote learning. The culture shock can be considered as the opposite of cultural literacy.
This happens when a person from some culture comes across a person from a different culture or the settings of that culture. Since people create several assumptions on a daily basis in their native culture, they do not always recognize the sum of subliminal conclusions that they are creating until they are abruptly forced to deal with different cultures. Currently, several assumptions unexpectedly turn into things which should be considered deliberately. This may be traumatic, thus, several people succeed in those differences but others find it difficult to handle. Globalization indicates that cultures should be merged more recurrently, not merely on a social stage but on economic, business, and political stages as well.
For instance, businesses sometimes find themselves working with some other businesses which have different cultures. This may bring about misinterpretations and discomfiture on the two sides. Several cultural difficulties can be resolved given that some efforts are made and this may give a definite advantage for businesses which are effective in this field (Hirsch and Kett 13).
However, various companies aim to strengthen their cultures instead of understanding the other cultures of different companies which is termed as cultural hegemony. For instance, some companies may implement a subsidiary in China and disregard local activities in support of enforcing their own process and systems, which may have various benefits but may eventually bring about friction and less productivity. The majority of people all over the globe are mainly concerned about the United States’ cultural hegemonic supremacy and aggressively opposing it. Literate culture has become the most valuable issue in American democracy. Citizenship is automatic in case someone understands the basic information and the linguistic rules which are required to speak, write, and read successfully.
Cultural literacy contains the only certain path of opportunity for needy kids. Advanced literacy alone allows the houses to be constructed and companies to be efficiently managed (Hirsch and Kett 13). Cultural literacy is not just a big problem to the companies or people working across countries around the world.
As culture literacy between countries is becoming very essential, it may as well be a big issue between generations, people, or communities from various divisions of the same city. Some parents do not understand the modern music which their children listen to; this is an issue which is partially due to cultural literacy. Some can contend that no one can have complete cultural literacy, since to act that way would mean that they have to learn every single culture existing on the globe. It is thus essential that culture literacy is straightforward and applicable to the requirements of the people (Hirsch and Kett 13). Those who oppose the idea of cultural literacy, have just got it backwards through neglecting the common culture significance and common support for knowledge. These privileges are not probable to pass by the benefits which go together with understanding the way to position expressions within their correct contexts, the way to read text within a web of references, the way to place occasions on a sequential timeline, and the description of ideas like “Idealistic” or “Orwellian.” Cultural literacy is inappropriate in the fact that it may not really bother other people and it may bring disagreements.
It is a big concern to the people who are wealthy or earning higher incomes than others. Some households that can pay for better schools, can be assured that their children are instilled with the type of cultural fluency which others are attempting to influence us. The more people debate the cultural literacy insignificance in the society or people’s life, the more they downgrade the control of this knowledge to the region of a socio-economic privilege, thus, donating to solidifying of social stratification and decrease of social mobility (Schweizer 53). Cultural literacy shows possession and it indicates movement of knowledge within firmly join coteries. The state of cultural literacy makes it hard to ‘cope’ to be culturally literate, since cultural literacy is empirical instead of anything which can be understood from a book. Those people who are superior to others easily cope with different cultures, but the only means to turn into real cultural literature is to become submerged in different cultures and progressively come to learn them. There is, debatably, no easy means for the process and people who attempt to find an easy way merely delude themselves into considering that they are culturally literate.
Hirsch, Eric and Joseph Kett. The new dictionary of cultural literacy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002. Print. Schweizer, Bernard.
“Cultural Literacy: Is it Time to Revisit the Debate?” The Nea Higher Education Journal (2009): 2(4): 51-56. Print.