Importance Of Cultural Literacy

Decent Essays
Cultural Literacy

Cultures are dynamic, ever growing and ever shrinking. Cultural literacy is not only the ability to understand and learn about other cultures, it also includes the awareness and maintenance of an individual’s own culture. Cultural literacy is crucial in regards to ones identity in the sense that culture is who we are. By knowing ourselves we can maintain our identity while also sharing it. Both authors had a calling to share their experiences for others to understand and possibly benefit so that their losses would not be in vain. There is a duty in cultural literacy in the awareness and maintenance of our culture and cultures of those around us so that we may continue to grow and preserve our cultures while respecting the
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Lake explains the level of knowledge his son has and offers his teacher help in understanding his culture so that other students can benefit from it also. Lake believes that by teaching what both cultures have to offer, his son can “be proud of his rich heritage and culture.”
In his essay, “How I learned to Read and Write”, Fredrick Douglass demonstrates the importance of being aware and considerate of our culture and the cultures around us. Douglass maintains that literacy is the “pathway from slavery to freedom…a great good, to be diligently sought.” Douglass “loathed [the white man] as the meanest…most wicked of men” as he came to realize “that very discontentment that Master Hugh predicted.” Douglass accuses them of being “band of successful robbers” who stole his people from Africa “and in a strange land reduced [them] to slavery.” Douglass explains that after hearing the way his Master “forbade” his wife from educating a slave, he became aware of his “wretched condition.” His newfound awareness caused him great grief and joy as he finally discovered how the white man got power over blacks. Determined to be free one day, Douglass used his literacy of the cultures around him to teach himself to read and write about his very
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Though knowing the times it was an “almost an unpardonable offence to teach slaves to read” and “might embarrass” his friends. Douglass details how his awareness found him teachers and helped him to freedom. Douglass lived out the meaning of cultural literacy as knowing how “one human being ought to treat another.”
Both articles show us the importance cultural narratives and the damage caused by lack of consideration for other cultures. Both of the essays desire respect for one’s identity and culture not afforded by the larger, more influential culture. Both boys struggled to find their identities and Douglass persisted to find his and learn and retain his lost culture and heritage.
Douglass didn’t want to believe what his masters had told him about his people as he witnessed how slavery changed people. When he had the ability to read and discover the reality of his situation he immediately chose to improve it. Wind-Wolf being much younger shows us exactly why Lake would write to his teacher about compassion for his son. Being so young and impressionable he was shown repeated themes where his culture belongs to a bad race of people. Wind-Wolf slowly began to reject his culture by cutting his hair among other failed attempts to fit

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