Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homework #3 Matilda Jarvis

In What's I Got to Do with It?, Hamilton writes emphasizing the role that personal literacy plays in an individual's identity. She borrows quotes from others to showcase the importance of personal literacy. In one such quotation, Shaugnessy remarks on the situation of students entering college in reference to their personal literacies:
College both beckons and threatens them, offering to teach them useful ways of thinking and talking about the world, promising even to improve the quality of their lives, but threatening at the same time to take away from their distinctive ways of interpreting the world, to assimilate them into the culture of academic without acknowledging their experiences as outsiders. (Melzer and Coxwell-Teague 65)
It is a powerful statement; that the exposure to knowledge taught in a certain way actually weakens the individual's power to interpret what they experience. Now, the question: is it true? I think, some students rely heavily on what they are taught--the teacher's way is the only way--especially since that is what the schools have ingrained into their minds from very early years. However, I still do not believe it to be entirely true. Rather, the perspectives in college offer a new light to view the world; and instead of diminishing that unique view, they refine the individual's outlook on the world.

AnzaldĂșa writes about the significance of variety in society, customs, and lifestyles: "Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity. I am my language" (Melzer and Coxwell-Teague 67). I immediately agreed with her declaration of how ethnic identity corresponding directly to linguistic identity, but the more I think about it, the more I hesitate to support it fully. True, language is one of the key elements to ethnic identity, but as today's world is ever becoming more connected and children, starting in middle school, begin to study a new language, perhaps the statement loses its full potency. For myself, my first language was Finnish, and English my second. Though my linguistic identity holds the two languages, I ethnically identify more readily with one more than the other. So, is it completely true? or is it losing its full meaning as the people in the world begin adding to their linguistic identities?

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