In chapter 6 of Outliers Malcolm Gladwell provides an entry into a larger discussion about cultural legacies. He opens with disturbing descriptions of how longstanding cultural patterns and beliefs influenced violent conflicts among generations of families in Kentucky during the 19th century.
The compelling research findings concerning long-term and deeply held values led Gladwell to the conclusion that
Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.He goes on to note the possibilities of “taking cultural legacies seriously” in order to learn “about why people succeed and how to make people better.”
It’s worth noting that highlighting cultural legacies can easily give way to problematic racial and gendered generalizations—generalizations we have necessarily been inclined to critique or avoid.
Having said that, how might taking cultural legacies seriously hurt or hinder our understanding of high academic achievement at SIUE? That is to say, how would a concentrated focus on cultural legacies enhance or limit our view of those who succeed at college?