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Multicultural Education—No "Americans" Need Apply
Recently by Athena Kerry: Diversity Is Strength! It's Also…Ethnic Come-ons
"Although we realize that the term American is commonly used to refer to the U.S. population, we view American as including other North and South Americans as well. Therefore we have tried to limit the use of this term when referring to the United States."
That's the introduction for Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society, by Donna M. Gollnick and Philip C. Chinn. It's the primary text for "Pluralism and Identity in the Classroom," a course required for any undergraduate student who wants to major in education—even though my university is private and Catholic.
My good friend Maeby is an Ed major and one of the few campus conservatives. Directly after her class, the two of us usually met up over cafeteria food describable only as fit for a cheap geriatric facility. She took to venting so much that I now consider myself a multicultural Ed student by proxy.
This three-times-a-week initiation of America's—excuse me, the United States'—future teachers into the cult of multiculturalism is not only 20-25% of a full semester of classes, but it is also a requirement on par with the subjects reasonable people would consider important for future educators. Like, oh, classroom management. Or math.
That's three hours a week of worship at the temple of cultural relativism, praise of the all-powerful minority (oops—I mean, oppressed classes), and sacrifice to the god Diversity. Drink the Kool-Aid, or no degree for you. No snoozing during the sermon either, or we'll have your name.
By comparison, although we are a Catholic school (see above), the School of Education requires only two theology courses. And they can be nominal—"World Religions" and the like.
First days in any class are usually full of syllabi, definitions and setting classroom dynamics.
And so, on the first day, Maeby received a course-clarifying handout entitled, "MC Education IS's and ISN'T's," based on the work of Paul Gorski, an assistant professor at Hamline University's Graduate School of Education in St. Paul, MN.
Dr. Gorski created and maintains the Multicultural Pavilion and the McGraw-Hill Multicultural Supersite, two websites focused on multicultural education. He is actively involved in the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), and serves on its board of directors. He's very good-looking, judging from the picture on his personal website, which also features shots of him as an adorable baby. (Now he's an adorable cry-baby.) He writes: "I have a cat named Unity and love her dearly."
Oh well, I love cats too. You can email Gorski at email@example.com.
Here are a few excerpts from Gorski:
"Multiculturalism isn't about everyone agreeing and getting along, it is about naming and eliminating the inequalities in education."
Actually, far from agreeing and getting along, it's about (see below) revolution.
"Multiculturalism isn't only applicable to Language Arts and History, it is a comprehensive approach for making education more inclusive, active, and engaging in all subject areas."
Hmmm. "Inclusive" physics and algebra. Interesting thought. Where's the new math when you need it?
In fact, the multicultis have thought of that. One day, Maeby reported her professor's answer: segregation. Since women and minorities aren't performing as well in math and the sciences, they should be removed from the traditional classroom setting and provided their own single-gender or "culturally neutral" environment.
Separate, but equal? Catchy phrase, that.
Maybe that's why the School of Education doesn't require any history classes.
"Multiculturalism isn't a process of watering down good curricula, it is a process for presenting all students with a more comprehensive, accurate understanding of the world."
Apparently, Paul Gorski and my school's Office of Student Diversity went to the same school of sophistic rhetoric. A member of the OSD once told me: "We aren't trying to change anyone's world view, we just want to help you understand the world differently."
And the problem is that yes, by setting aside extra time for multiculturalist indoctrination, the curriculum is watered down. The use of classroom hours may not be a zero-sum game for the leisure classes, but it certainly is for those kids in low-income areas with responsibilities outside of school and little or no family support.
There are only so many hours in the day, forcing a teacher to pick and choose what he can teach. One extra day preaching cultural tolerance means one less day on the Federalist Papers.
"Multiculturalism isn't achieved through a series of small changes, but is achieved through the reexamination and transformation of all aspects of education."
Well, shoot for the moon and you'll at least land among the stars.
Meanwhile, those of us still on the planet earth are struggling to save the culture that made such a mission possible in the first place.
That culture, the American culture (Canada, South and Central America excluded), is not going to be easily rescued, if professors like this one get their way.
In addition to the tri-weekly reading assignments, midterm and final exam, Maeby was assigned a "Roots Presentation."
She was supposed to explore her own cultural identity by investigating her family's "unique history" as a way of identifying her personal worldview. The assignment consisted of a 3-4 minute presentation to the class, and a 2-3 page paper, in which she would identify and describe her cultural background.
Maeby was also required to turn in weekly journals intended to track her progress through self-reflection and reexamination of her own behavior. Gorski encourages this kind of exercise as a way of creating a "hidden curriculum"—that is, a teacher whose actions and consciousness revolve around multiculturalism, who can teach students through example instead of through textbooks or lesson plans.
I've also been told that journaling is a kind of brainwashing technique. Go figure.
The Roots assignment was tricky, though, because being a white Catholic American (USA-an?) didn't count in this class. A purely American cultural heritage presentation was not appropriate, according to her professor when Maeby asked, because it would consist only of "white privilege and imperialistic ethnocentrism."
So, because she simply had to dig up some ancestors who came from a "non-dominant," i.e. minority, cultural heritage, Maeby had the choice of becoming a genealogist, or a novelist. (Her solution: she discovered Latin American forbears.)
Late in the semester, Maeby wrote in her weekly journal:
"The presentation had me find and research former, non-dominant cultures in my heritage and talk about them, even though their influence upon my life was nothing...I wish I could have felt comfortable enough to step back and say: this is who I am, I am an American, and whether people like it or not, I am going to present that."
The Professor annotated that she was pleased to see Maeby had been affected by the experience.
The hypocrisy of a class on "multiculturalism" and "inclusiveness" being blatantly exclusive of Maeby's American heritage goes unnoticed by the multiCult. The exchange of one exclusive world-view for another (from American chauvinism—as defined by the cult—to politically correct value judgments—again as defined by the cult) was simply seen as an opportunity for Maeby to experience the feeling of being a minority.
Apparently being a conservative on campus wasn't minority enough!
The depressing news: Maeby reported that the double standard wasn't seen by any of the aspiring teachers in the class either. Either they enthusiastically joined in the America-bashing, or, like Maeby herself, they were too afraid to speak up.
In one of her final journals, Maeby noted: "I am afraid to show pride in my culture at the risk of being viewed as a proponent of oppression by the dominant culture."
To this, her professor had no comment.
Fear—isn't that the first step toward oppression?
Athena Kerry (email her) recently graduated from a Catholic university somewhere in America.