In the Language and Culture Stories One and Two, there are two stories given which relate the thoughts and feelings of newcomers to the United States. Both are from the perspective of Asians who come to America, one raised since childhood and the other venturing over from Japan. They make note of the many cultural differences that set them apart from modern American culture, and notice that it is easy to fall into stereotypes and ethnocentric mindsets. There is an obvious connection with the previous reading, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” in which the authors have been taught that they must read, speak, and write in one way, and that it is incorrect to do otherwise. In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” Gloria Andalzua felt the oppression of Chicanos being looked down upon by both Americans and Spanish-speaking nationals, who find the mixed and vibrant language is an offense and those who speak it are “illiterate.” The Korean-American author of the second culture story describes how his grandmother most likely will never be able to speak proper English. To many, she would seem illiterate, unable to learn how to speak the language. However, the author realizes that it is quite the opposite–she is bilingual in both fluent Korean and Japanese. It is only our preconception that English is superior that prevents us from realizing that she has a very sharp mind. Literacy does not have to be only spoken word. Literacy in a nutshell is a method of communication; it can be anything from one to many different spoken languages, to written word, to body language such as eye contact and hand movements. As long as a message can be conveyed and understood, and the information absorbed in a timely manner, someone is literate.
It is very obvious that there is a small amount of bias present whenever there is discussion of different cultures. There is a massive culture shift present when the author of the first culture story first comes to America. The responses to certain phrases and situations were so strange to him that he began to shut himself off from others, grouping his peers as “those Americans,” without noticing that he was becoming bias to them himself. It was only much later that he realized this and began to treat them as normal people from his culture before things began to become better for him. He realizes that culture does not matter–people are individuals and that he must take things as they come and make his own opinions upon them. Through reading these passages and bridging the gaps that connect them together a conclusion can be drawn that literacy is something that comes in many different forms and many different languages, and there is no true classification for it being right or wrong, just that it is a way of communicating in context with that particular culture.