Essay about American Global Disinterest

1137 Words5 Pages
In an increasingly interconnected world, America remains alarmingly isolated due to cultural rigidity. Though often dubbed a “melting pot” of people and ideas (Wolff, 2), this is quite the misnomer. Most Americans have no experience with anything outside of the country. In fact, almost 64 percent have never travelled outside their own familiar borders (Fischl, 1) and less than 25 percent can speak a foreign language conversationally (Wolff, 2). This lack of global literacy comes at a high price. In order to thrive internationally in areas such as economics and politics, the United States needs people proficient in the global culture (Altshuler and Skorton, 1). Fortunately, through the cultivation of foreign language, integration of foreign…show more content…
As America is one of the world’s largest and most powerful countries, a crucially important reason to bolster language education is in regards to international relations. Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” (Okpomo, 1). America needs politicians, ambassadors, and diplomats who can connect to leaders of other nations on that level; business leaders to promote American interests abroad; and soldiers who can relate to the common people that they are fighting to protect. All of these endeavors require multilingualism. A second example of insufficient imported ideology is the lack of translated literature in the country. In a given year, only a meager 3 percent of the almost three hundred thousand books published in the United States are translated works (Nardone, 1). This number pales in comparison to the 15 percent in France or 12 percent in Germany. The ability of Americans to pick up a copy of the latest work of a Swiss novelist, Chinese philosopher, or Argentine poet is nearly nonexistent. American students analyze and regurgitate the same materials written by American authors, such as John Steinbeck, year after year. Foreign literature not only provides a change of pace, but a change of perspective. Americans are not lacking in literary curiosity, as evidenced by the countless displays in bookstore windows
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