What Every American Should Know By Eric Liu

Decent Essays
Interpretative essay
What every American should know by Eric Liu thoroughly examines the issue of cultural literacy and its place in modern America. It takes on a convincing argument against E.D. Hirsch’s book on the same which included some 5000 things that he thought define cultural literacy and every American should know. Liu argues that America has changed over time, becoming more multicultural, and to capture the cultural literacy of the country, no one person should sit down and come up with what they think everyone else should know. Instead he suggests that in order to capture the view of the nation, every American should be involved in the making of the list. The most engaging part of this article is Liu’s idea that this new list that is crowd-sourced should always change according to the times. It should not be cast in stone because things in this day and age change really fast; what is a hit this month will be old news in the next one. This is what cultural literacy really is; keeping up with what is going on around you and being open to learn new things as they emerge. This can also be said of education; in order to stay educated in any field, you have to be in the know of in terms of new developments.
The conversation and debates on cultural literacy should continue in every place in America since it helps us to understand and be tolerant of other cultures around us (Gay 2010). When we are familiar with all or some of the things that define America as a culture,
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