The Private and Public Culture

The two most important outcomes of what we learn from our surroundings form the elements of public and private culture inhibited in our identities depending on the scope of our environment. Richard Rodriguez argued that the external environment that a person is exposed to shapes their personal identity. Richard gives an example with his personal life, whereby when he joined the school in America he knew little English words but fluent with his mother language, Spanish. However, with time he learned English and the strong influence impacted his lifestyle until he felt alienated at one point in life. The private culture is revealed on particular aspects such as the Spanish language at home where members share a cultural background in the diverse environment of English speakers. The cultural practices inculcated in us such as language and religious beliefs as revealed in our behaviors determines our private culture. As we grow, we are exposed to new environments and different people. As we interact within another level and learn from their ways of life, for instance in learning institutions such as the university, we become acquainted in public culture that we have minimal control. For these reasons I believe there exists a great distinction between public and private culture.

The students who have studied at college level inhibit more significant features of public culture due to exposure to the new environment and people. In his book, ‘In Hunger of Memory’, Richard argues that the role of a teacher is to equip the students with public information since they are aware of the private data from their original backgrounds. Understanding several languages and other cultural aspects made them become multicultural and provides a clear view of the world. He further asserts that the Latinos of California lack culture because “they speak neither Spanish nor English very well”, (Henry, 104).

The family shapes of cultural attitude, values and behavior of all individuals due to its strong influence during upbringing. Before one is exposed to the public culture, they already have developed personalities..



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