Cultural Currencies: Cash, Culture, and Change
The United States is a melting pot of many different cultures. People from all over the world come to the United States because they have the freedom to practice their culture here; this includes using their native language. In Leslie Savan’s book Slam Dunks and No-Brainers: Language in Your Life, the Media, Business, Politics, and, Like, Whatever she included a section called “What’s Black, Then White, and Said All Over?”. This section examines common way of speaking, which Savan claims has its origins in African American vernacular. Julia Alvarez, author of the book Once Upon A Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA, also writes about other cultures accumulating themselves into the American lifestyle. The United States is proud to be home to many different types of people, but if all people don’t speak a common language then it is impossible to be a unified nation. The US needs to declare our nation with a common or “official” language, so that we can become closer as a country.
Julia Alvarez’s book, Once Upon A Quinceañera, discussed how Latin Americans bring their traditions into the American culture. Alvarez discusses retroculturation, reaching back and reconnecting with traditions that haven’t been celebrated in generations. She describes Latino retroculturation by saying the first generation tries to do everything possible to assimilate into the new culture. The second generation wants to grow up completely American; some even refuse to learn Spanish. The third generation feels completely American, but they feel like they want to reconnect with their Spanish roots. “They make a concerted effort to hold on to their traditions, to establish cultural ties with their past” (Alvarez 46). The same can be said for blacks using “slang” language. The spelling, or misspelling, of words isn’t just a style; it has roots in history. Going back to the 1800’s “hip-hop misspellings don’t just reject...
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