To begin, I want to talk about the term multicultural because to many minds the word in itself has a gentle and welcoming tone. It seems to evoke the sense that one gets when going to the Catholic Church for Mass with the rich, the middle, the poor, the young, the old, the innocent, the experienced, the penitent, the pure, the hesitant, the sure, the crippled, the weak, the strong, the sad, the happy, the perplexed, the courageous, no matter their race, gender, ability, or language. In a university scenario, this would even include people from any religion who want to engage in thoughtful inquiry.
But sadly multiculturalism is not being used in this way in some cases. I love the idea of cross-cultural communication, which the term multicultural implies, but multicultural seems to be about demonizing certain cultures, specifically any culture from Europe, including but not limited to anyone who is Christian since this is perceived as a European transgression more than anything.
The term theory as used in this class is also not about holding a proven hypothesis supported by reasonable and supportable evidence and objective discernment but how an individual situation explains all situations only if it proves a certain point; individual situations that do not support that point are tossed aside as irrelevant, i.e., if it happened to me, it must happen to everybody who is similar to me and anyone who is similar to the person who hurt me must act like that to everybody who is similar to me. I am part of group A and someone from group B hurt me, thus everyone from group B hurts everyone from group A. A generalization indeed. Correlation to the Nth and twisted degree.
But since we are sharing experiences, let me share mine
Let me try to relate how this can manifest itself in university discussions about multicultural theory. I have been pretty quiet of late about my graduate classes in education because I have been altogether perplexed at the kinds of theories teachers are being asked to embrace in some multicultural classes since some are firmly based on Marxism and Marxist feminism. I am totally fine with people who hold these theories as true as long as they are willing to keep the discussion open to other ideas. However, I am confounded when these theories are held to a level of dogmatism that does not allow a thoughtful inquiry. Sadly, I have had my first experience with the secular trend that denies academic freedom and is willing to censor anyone who thinks differently than they do–me. I had never before been denied academic freedom even when secular professors did not agree with me. Before this time in my academic experience, some professors had been willing to demonize Christian thought, but they were not willing to close the forum to Christian thought, and the ones who demonized Christian thought were few in my experience because most were liberal in the sense that they were open to anything that led them closer to the Truth. The demonizers made room for a lively debate to say the least, but the forum was indeed still open. But this time…I hope that this was a rare incident, but I really do not know.
So right away, you have to ask yourself. If a person like me can go to a multicultural class that gives the appearance to be open to anyone except certain groups, like Christians or people from any other religion for that matter, is that really a multicultural class or is that something else? Either you are open to all cultures with the term inclusion, or you are not really open and seek to exclude certain groups and have redefined inclusion, thus undermining your own cause.
With this type of trend, I would think that most academics would be concerned. Those who value inquiry, academic freedom, free speech, and an open forum ought to worry because a new sense of dogmatism has penetrated into secular thought and either because it is afraid of other ways of thinking or because it believes that no one should have the right to think in other ways, it is becoming more aggressive, at least it has in this case (I am willing to believe this is rare, but like I said, I do not know). Now, if it is because they fear other ways of thinking, I think we can probably glean a lot of hope from that. It’s a defensive posture when something is about to go out of style–bad ideas harden when they are about to break, and this, in my opinion, happens when sound ideas begin to reveal themselves. If, however, it’s because they believe their way of thinking is the only way of thinking, then they have truly become extremely arrogant, judgmental, condescending, and limited even though they profess the opposite–the beliefs in open-mindedness, understanding, and freedom–their theories have hardened into dogma!
The biggest trouble is going to be in deciding who gets to define their dogma and why, and how will you know when and if you are no longer a part of their belief system?
I don’t even know if I can quite define this new sort of non-academic beast, one that does not even allow inquiry. And to be fair, not all professors who teach on the subject of multiculturalism have arrived to the extreme point of denying academic freedom (see Peter Frederick who is less extreme and tries to be more fair and balanced). But, I have concluded that this form I have faced is as worrisome as fascism.
Are you sure? Don’t you think you might be over-reacting?
In order for teachers to obtain a license to teach, they are now required to take multicultural classes. In addition, they have to prove that they can implement these theories in their classrooms, like soldiers for a cause. If the multicultural class is as dogmatic as Marxism and as censorial as fascism as the one I took, this can have widespread implications. Hopefully not all of teachers are being coerced, but I am not sure anymore. The coercion comes when a person is required to take a course to receive certification but cannot pass the class because they do not conform to the proposed theories (Downs, 2009) .
In my case, I failed most assigned tasks, but it all ended up being a mind game in the end because I received a passing grade for my final grade somehow, so the entire time I was led to believe that I would be dropped out of the teaching program; each project effort was an effort in futility; at one point, I was told to take my information down from the forum until I could change it or undo it to fit the proposed “hidden curriculum” theory (see definition below)–I used quotes from the theories of John Paul II but was told this class was not about my personal religious perspective; now the professor could have been doing this to make a point, and I am ashamed for doctoral academics to say that this would be done for reasons of vengeance because I do not belong to a currently esteemed group, based on the assumptions about me and the tags they attribute to me, and I fail to limit my perspective to a Marxist perspective because it is overly suspicious of people who have what they see as something and patronizing to those who have what they consider to be nothing. Like I said, censorship has never happened to me before, and I have very often used John Paul II in university discussions.
By the way, the African American or black American is not in the esteemed minority group in some of these multicultural classes, so this should bring little comfort to any group in a minority. Even if you are secular and even atheist, I would not be confident at all that this new programme has you in mind and is on your side, especially as it continues to expand its categories on who the unjust are based on arbitrary and shifting tags and definitions. If you are a European male or female, if you are from the middle class, then you are not protected by the current definition of multicultural in some cases.
My fear with this dogmatic posture is that it leads to hatred for a certain type of people, and in some cases to a genocide mentality. The articles I read ratchet up the anger and envy by making generalizations about a certain group of people, and if you are in that group of people, it is hard not to feel despair from the guilt you are not responsible for–you are proven guilty before you even speak; there is no assumption of innocence–all people who fit into their categorizations are guilty, subversive, and unjust; there is nothing good about anyone who comes from this group, so they say; the level of suspicion it advocates creates the atmosphere to judge people superficially and harshly. Although multicultural classes promise to be non-judgmental, some multicultural classes are being extremely judgmental. And since this class is all about how to gain power, the only sense I received from this class was to fight for power–who can overpower whom? If that is the mentality, then it is a futile cause based on who will be the strongest, not on any other quality. Again, it undermines its own tenets and tenants eventually by excluding the weak.
Healthy boundaries are very necessary to have before beginning a class like this, otherwise you might believe that your children are the ones who caused evil decades and decades ago even if none of their ancestors were near the conflict. You might even begin to idolize others to the point that you believe that all people from all other groups besides your own are infallible and have done everything perfectly throughout history. I’m sorry, I just began to think of how much this is a high-school mentality. It’s all about the cliques and which one you belong to–an immature cat fight! “Sally’s mom wore Old Navy pants like everyone else did back then. She’s wearing the wrong jeans. Get her!”
Issues with communication
I want you to know how important it is to define terms in the way that you are using them. How terms are being used in these classes is far different from how they were originally implemented and understood. Terms such as empathy, multicultural, privilege, disadvantaged, progress, freedom, democracy, critical thinking, and access to education are a few of the terms that are used differently. In fact, the 1960′s version of freedom of expression is not the same in 2013 because the 1960′s theories have become dogmas, as I said before. Communication is extraordinarily difficult because when I say a certain term, I mean something else than those who are listening. To reiterate, the term multicultural itself sounds benevolent to most people. But when some multiculturalists use the same term, they are intending something quite different because their worldview, ironically, is from a very limited perspective and is therefore not benevolent.
Interestingly, I came across a theory on how the Nazis overcame Holland so easily, and it is said that they used this tactic in propaganda. They found a term that people liked to hear but began to make it mean something else until everyone believed in the new way of thinking (Sauer, 1989). They did this through news media outlets and the like. Do these new sociologists believe in censorship and intellectual coercion? Do they believe it is their duty to hide other theories from the “ignorant” public? Do they believe it is their duty to place their limited perspective onto history and toss out all others because they believe their perspective is the only way to see anything? Is what happened to me happening to others? Again, I hope my case is a rare incident.
Now as to whether this was a conspiracy (I don’t personally believe that) or accidental (more likely since American history and literature textbooks have been fraught with inaccuracies and gaps for a long time), who really knows? But I now know, having experienced the denial of my academic freedom in a graduate course and having been told to manipulate curriculum to fit a Marxist perspective, that this censorship and coercion is real in some cases.
Terms, terms, terms
So here are how the terms were used in this class. Let me remind you, these definitions are not how I define these terms, and this is not exhaustive:
1. multiculturalism–it assesses cultures based on who is privileged versus who is disadvantaged; privilege is having resources and status, which give power in their minds; since they are trying to apply a Marxist perspective onto the United States, the privileged are the middle class and the majority; the main target of all our social ills is the average, European descendant–the common person. By common, I mean average–in probabilities, that which you are more likely to see because of its number. The common person is the unjust person in their eyes. All others are free from criticism. The common person includes everyone from the middle class, all European descendants and Europeans, including females, and anyone who is perceived to be acting in a common way. Thus, the common person even includes other races who make a certain amount of money and speak English. Since English is a common language to use throughout the world, you can see how their categories begin to exponentially expand. In the end, multiculturalism is no longer about the communication of many cultures since it would rather people not learn one language to speak to each other, but more about putting people into groups so that they can find a target group to explain worldly injustice because they want to blame somebody for suffering.
2. racism–only white people are racist. All other ethnicities have only suffered from thousands of years of white (European and Middle Eastern) racism. White people cause all problems. White people are not even aware when racism occurs because they are not aware of their own racism. Any other race that acts like the majority of white people has become racist, too. Existence with this genotype means that you are racist; if you are not a part of the esteemed minority group or groups, then your genotype might be the wrong one, too. As they chip away at who really is from a minority group and who is not, it will be hard to remain on the good side of this type of multiculturalism. Who is the perfect minority group that has not been tainted? Is there really such a thing? On a global scale, which group really falls into minority status? Let me remind you, here, that not all multicultural professors take this stance since this is a racist way to understand racism. I get the sense that someone read Flannery O’Connor’s gothic literature and thought that all white people were like her racist main characters.
3. democracy--equality means giving minority voting groups the same amount of voting power as majority groups. If you continue forward with this mentality, their own thinking becomes undermined since the minority of the minority in this country have a different mindset but have less power than the majority of the minority. And democracy?
4. privileged–all privilege is unearned, if you are white; only white people have this unearned privileged; privilege is not a gift, it is something to tear down or take away from white males first, then white females second; the privileged are the middle class because they are the majority, not the rich and not the poor since they are minority classes by the numbers. This is where you begin to see that some multiculturalists would be happier with tyranny (the impatient and angry), dictatorship (the power hungry), aristocracy (the rich), monarchy (kings and queens), technocracy (the Borg:), or totalitarianism (the micro-managers and control freaks), rather than a democracy.
5. disadvantaged–this is anyone who is from a currently esteemed minority group; with globalization, it will be interesting how this one plays out; Asian Americans who make more per capita and are doing better in education in the United States are frequently ignored in the discussion because their success undermines the multicultural theory that all whites have unearned privilege. Of course, they also fail to mention how Asian Americans are more likely to stay married, how Hispanic and Asian Americans are growing faster (45% growth for each) than white Americans (1% growth), and how abortion rates in black Americans have been higher than anybody.
6. historical context–it means looking at the oppressor versus the oppressed; it is an either/or perspective and an us versus them perspective; all white men and women have oppressed everyone else historically; it is not about bringing comprehensive material into the discussion, it is about finding those who felt oppressed or hurt by one majority person; white includes all European and Middle Eastern descendants no matter the shade of their skin except for those with Spanish or African gene traits, unless they have Spanish or African genes but look fair. Confused yet? Percentages are only used when they prove a point, but are disregarded when they undermine their main theories. Thus, if you try to show how some regions have suffered more with prejudice and oppression rather than every region having suffered prejudice and oppression, which accounts for a far different percentage, then you will be disregarded. In other words, if I say that black people in certain regions graduate 95% of the time in one county but only 50% of the time in another county, the 95% success rate is swallowed by the region it is compared to and is called an anomaly. By the way, theories of probability are not used in multiculturalism. They often compare apples to oranges. Indeed, they do little to look at the progress that has been made over time (see Deutermann, 1970). Often they are stuck in a historically bad period that caused a bad feeling, but do not see the difference between that period and today’s period. It boils down to being condescending toward certain historical figures by expecting them to know things that we know from hindsight.
7. open-minded–no one with a religious, moral, or philosophical background is included in their version of open-minded, unless they are willing to criticize advocates of religion, morality, and sound philosophy; these people have to remain in the closet with their identity; histrionics, however, is allowed. In other words, it is not really open-minded.
8. critical thinking–means to be condescending to any historical figure who made an important and influential decision but does not mean to think about how that historical figure may have arrived at that decision. Critical, yes, but critical thinking with its understood meaning as thinking about thinking, probably not. Judgmentalism would probably clarify how they are using the term.
9. access to education–means to not teach the most widely used discourse language to those who do not know it; students should have a teacher that speaks their language (a strange expectation when schools have students from as many as 150 languages) universal translators would make this problem obsolete (sorry had to say that); access also means putting emotionally disturbed students in with those who are not emotionally disturbed, making the teacher, who in most cases does NOT have a psychology degree, try to manage the mentally ill while trying to teach students math, science, or language.
Teachers are expected to make modifications for every type of learner in her class, thus she needs to be able to teach to those students with English as a second language, to the emotionally disturbed, to those with special needs, like autism, to those with learning disabilities, to those who are kinesthetic learners, to those who are visual learners, to those who are auditory learners, to those who are intrapersonal learners, to those who are interpersonal learners, to those who are disabled, etc., etc. In other words, she needs to have several heads and bodies so that she can live up to the expectations of access to education. The people who are left out, of course, are those who are average because she is so busy trying to figure out how to modify her lesson in order to help everyone in every way. It’s like having the OB-GYN do heart surgery, rhinoplasty, dental work, and eye exams while delivering a baby. On top of that, the teacher is expected to prove that she can teach all these kinds of students by having them pass certain exams and will now have a pay cut if her students do not pass. I haven’t even mentioned those students who have no motivation because their parents do not believe in education or cooperation because they believe they are supposed to revolt against those in power just as Mr. Marx told them to.
10. progress–means to assimilate minorities to see from a limited worldview and to exclude the majority group from all decision making; anyone from the majority group does not know how to think correctly ever and anyone from these minority groups needs to be taught how to think like a Marxist. Progress means putting a 20th century perspective onto all of history, specifically a Civil Rights Movement perspective from the 1960′s. No body can think as well as or better than a person from 1968. They had all the right conclusions, the right information, and know better than historians before and after them. Yes, there are people stuck in the 1960′s!
These theories they believe in order to enforce social change based on the premise that the majority is the source of all injustice in the United States and beyond; again, theory does not mean based on scientific evidence but on subjective experiences from certain people even when other people from the same minority group never had that experience; white (European or Middle Eastern) people are not allowed to suggest that unjust things have happened to them as well.
11. hidden curriculum–this is a curriculum that supposedly went “underground” in the early 20th century; the white population hid it and understands it still, but keeps it from others. This is how whites keep their power. It is not the theory that cultures have certain body languages and expectations that other cultures do not understand and know but ways in which the majority keeps a majority of the people in power.
12. critical pedagogy–this is also called critical theory in some books; it seeks to use the lens of the privileged versus the disadvantaged to reassess all educational material. For instance, it revisits history and believes that in all cases there is an oppressor and the oppressed. This is probably where critical pedagogy has the most influence. It believes that the oppressed are always just and innocent even when they may not have been really oppressed since being from a minority group is what matters only if it proves the point that the majority is oppressive; thus the only oppressor is the middle class since they are the majority. They do not recognize how minority groups have oppressed majority groups as well. For instance, historical South Africa would not fit into the discussion very well as to how a minority group can be oppressive, but it does fit into the discussion because the minority group was white. I was required to review a unit from a textbook and apply critical pedagogy (I expanded the meaning since doing a Marxist perspective on history is as limited as doing a Puritan perspective on history, but I’ll show you that later in this article). Dualism, dualism, dualism: “Will you jump over this cliff with me, Sally? Are you with me?” No. “Sally is against me.”
Critical pedagogy aims to create social change with a 1968 Civil Rights Movement perspective. This lends to the use of Civil Rights material from the 1960′s in every class and in every unit from English to History. Students are asked to look at historical events and judge whether or not people made the right decision based on who seemed oppressed and who seemed to be the oppressor–there is no person in the middle; students are encouraged to give suggestions on how they would revolt against the powers that were or be, even if the powers were benevolent, and to make a “call to action.” Textbooks become very twisted perspectives. Teaching concentrates more on social justice from a Marxist and feminist perspective rather than on what social justice actually means from more comprehensive perspectives. It takes a condescending view of historical figures, develops anger in events that already happened, and gives no opportunity for the student to be understanding to all historical figures.
3. James Banks stages of curriculum transformation–it is based on the “awareness” that all curriculum is Euro-centric; it claims Euro-centrism is why minority groups do not do well in school, even though Asian Americans do better than all groups; see http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/curriculum/steps.html to see how this transformation in the curriculum will occur. Again, I am all for making historical perspectives more comprehensive; however, our textbooks were less Euro-centric but perhaps too British-centric in the sense that anything a person with English roots could be advocated while all others were uncivilized and unknowing, which moved to later taking anything out that had Christian references since that is generally where influential British thinkers went; they seem to forget, too, the Spain is in Europe, but its historical influence has largely been ignored or misrepresented because it was Catholic. Hispanic is somehow exempt from the idea of Euro-centric but Catholic is considered completely Euro-centric. Are you getting confused, yet? I had a lot of headaches trying to discern what they were saying since so much of the theory is conditional, contradictory, and undermines itself.
Implications if these terms are misused
The 20th century American student who is now an adult likely had no unbiased Catholic Church history, no original historical documents, and no philosophy because those were all unfavorable for several decades because of the first stages of critical pedagogy. Most Americans have gone through an identity crisis, not just those in minority groups. It began in the 20th century, and we still have yet to recover who we are because of all the gaps and inaccuracies. Those 20th century students are now adults. Their children are getting a different version of history with later stages of critical pedagogy. The predicament here is going to be in the research because misinformation, censored material, and outright propaganda is readily available, so the search for an authentic, comprehensive, and honest perspective is going to be difficult. In fact, I would say we are heading to the dark ages because of the amount of misinformation secular books have been able to create since they create histories based on current popular biases, limitations, and trends; on the other hand, we might be heading into a rebirth because the 20th century was particularly dark in matters of history because of these tremendous gaps, distortions, and inabilities to make connections in secular books, and we are now aware and have the tools to discover authentic history–it will require thoughtful discernment.
It is good to note here that the fringes on both sides of the political spectrum believe in censorship (Doyle, 2011; Kiefer, 2010).
There are a couple of reasons I think our 20th century history books misrepresented history. First, British scholars were easier for Americans to read since English became the American language. Since Great Britain also had access to more countries, it was easier to depend on them for perspectives on other cultures. Second, when public education began in “state” run schools, the idea of separation of church and state began to confuse educators. Some ignored entire pieces of historical literature because historical figures often mentioned God (Scholes, 1999). To me, this explains a lot of why modern literature has so often been atheistic. It is because the state schools were trying so hard to separate church and state and were left with only a limited amount of material.
Where critical pedagogy has gone with this, however, is not to bring this material back into the classroom, but to bring it into the classroom with the bias of Marxism tagged onto it. It is showing students how to think of historical figures in a superficial way instead of letting them see untainted historical material in a comprehensive way. Like I said earlier in this post, I think a lot of this is accidental. Before all Christian material was taken out in the early 20th century to separate church and state, the favored historical perspective for Americans came from Great Britain who has a history of censorship and elitism that began with Henry the VIII (Beckett, 2006). It led to a puritanistic worldview given by the British that some multiculturalists believe comes from all Christians but really only belongs to a certain few. Thus, Christianity has come under fire because some secular scholars have gaps in their own historical perspective.
The new outcast–the common man. If you are middle class, if you are fair-skinned, if you are European or have European descendants, if you are from an organized religion, you are the enemy to this type of multiculturalism. There is something inherently wrong with you. Even if you espouse the same ideas as secularists, there is still something wrong with you as long as you fit in one of those categories. This has serious implications. Is it a wonder that European males and females are as likely to commit suicide as Native Americans who have had historically high incidences of suicide? Is it a wonder that European males and females have high incidences of depression? Is it a wonder that the person from the majority group no longer wants to work, to live, to share? Nothing he can do will be seen as honest or good. He is only good for the taxes he can give, but all else is criminal. He is just a meaningless consumer that does not know how to think. Can you say without a doubt that multicultural classes like the one I experienced are not causing these casualties and loss of identities?
The theory of propaganda–propaganda come only from the majority group, thus ads from stores are considered to be propaganda with this theory of multiculturalism; for instance, a short video that began with the myth of overpopulation complained about how parents have to tell their children, “no,” when they see ads for toys, suggesting that these ads were making parents into unwilling consumers. Never mind the insertion of saying the world has too many children (which is true propaganda) and that parents should not be required to be sooo responsible that they must say, “no,” or tell children to turn off the TV.
The suggested application of social change through students–one of the primary goals of critical pedagogy is to get students involved in social justice but with a Marxist perspective; they are trying to call students to action. They are taught how to get a voice, how to revolt against anyone who is in power, and how to see the world as the privileged versus the disadvantaged. They are given a critical eye: all European descendants are greedy and self-seeking. Only the elite multicultural person of today knows better than historical persons and majority races. Watch out! You might be the next to be excluded from their definitions if you are a certain age. I have actually seen first hand how this undermines professors. In philosophy, as soon as we started to engage in the conversation, applying this theory, the students no longer trusted the Marxist professor because she was seen as someone in power that they were being called to overtake. She became perplexed at the loss of respect.
The Textbook Review
I looked at an American Literature unit of two parts (1620-1800) created for 11th grade students. This was a James Banks level III, putting heroes from minority cultures into the curriculum (to be fair, some multiculturalist see these stages as something that just happens when people are aware of inaccuracies and gaps while other multiculturalist see these as the way to transform the curriculum to fit their perspective). In this textbook, 65% of the literature for this early American time period was from the 20th century. Half of part two was Civil Rights material from Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and others. The majority of the entire unit concentrated on the Salem witch trials, using The Crucible by Arthur Miller as the major project. The Crucible was written as a commentary on the Red Scare and MaCarthyism in the 1950′s in defense of the communists from that time.
So, what can students assume after reading this unit? All peoples in the early American colonists were witch hunters who believed in an angry God, the revolution was the same as the Civil Rights Movement, and communists are the only people who have ever been mistreated throughout history thus giving them the support they need to suggest that their perspective is the just perspective.
My suggestions were to remove all the 20th century material and put it in its own unit later in the book since the unit titles suggest chronological order in the book. I did this because to be fair to the idea of a puritanism or Manichaeism that goes as far as hunting people down, the Holocaust and anti-religious atheism from the 20th century would have to be talked about as well the Red Scare, but since the unit was already overwhelmed with 20th century material, it would be better to take it all out and put in a later unit. I also suggested bringing in more original historical documents from early American colonists and even from those Europeans who were developing international law, such as Vitoria, Gentili, and Grotius. There are several canons now from anthologies that have a variety of cultures representing historical figures from certain historical time periods. I also suggested talking about the development of American English, how that language became the language of discourse in the United States since some multiculturalists assume it was a way for a certain group to keep power rather than a way to keep things simple and a way to help printed communication become accessible for many so that more people would be able to succeed.
I can see now how critical pedagogy has been applied in some Catechism material. For instance, many of the featured heroes are secular heroes who were promoting revolution and social change. It is not that I am wary of this material because I do not believe in social justice. Rather, it is limiting the perspective of the Church and it misrepresents the primary purpose of the Church. Social justice is only a part of the picture and is loved by the Church, but social justice can never be attained if people do not accept and work from a premise of morality and forgiveness. Critical pedagogy does not encourage forgiveness for the imperfection of humanity, and it certainly does not speak about morality. If my friend doesn’t believe in morality, he might believe that he is justified in burning my house down. If he can’t forgive me because I forgot to shower the other day, then he might currently hate me. Of course, I don’t know if I would call him my friend.
How multicultural classes can become truly multicultural!
There are some disciplines that need to be connected to multiculturalism so that it will make sense: developmental psychology, mathematical probabilities, comprehensive European and American history, a history of the English language, explanations of tyranny, totalitarianism, dictatorship, theories of literary criticism and perspectives, philosophy.
- Psychology, because the perspectives used for this class were from high-school students–I do not know anybody who went through high-school who had perfect peer and/or teacher experiences in high-school.
- Math, because the likelihood that you will run into a “white” person in the United States is more likely based on the numbers.
- Comprehensive European history and American history, because if you are going to use the term Euro-centric, then you need to include all the plethora of cultures and voices that actually come from Europe, which indeed there were many cultures that began the United States, not just the English.
- A history of the English language, because it is made of other languages and only began to be standardized and linear when print became readily available. In fact, many of its grammar rules are derived from Latin, which is the root of several languages. People, like Noah Webster, began standardizing it to help people communicate, not to prevent people from communicating.
- Explanations of tyranny, totalitarianism, dictatorship–I dare say–an objective perspective of politics, because multiculturalism says it supports democracy but applies political theories that are adversarial to democracy. And really, isn’t Marxism getting quite old? Isn’t it time we moved on?
- Theories of literary criticism, because they show that Marxist theory is only ONE way to look at something, and many other ways are available and add depth to the discussion (Harmon & Holman, 2006).
- Philosophy, because there are other ways of thinking.
Can any saving graces be found after taking an aggressive multicultural class that seeks to limit perspectives more than enlighten people about other perspectives?
Misinterpretation and misapplication of these theories–some students in the class either ignored the main definition of critical pedagogy or interpreted it differently; for instance, one person thought it was about making history come alive by having the students role play parts of the historical figures just so that they would be more interested in the material; I expanded their meaning of empathy to encapsulate being knowledgeable and understanding of all sides without being superficially judgmental of those historical figures of certain skin color, social standing, or income, even if they were white, especially since white people are made of several different cultures.
A better, more healthy, more realistic, more comprehensive multiculturalism will be defined. (See Catholic Education (article 1), Catholic University of America, What is Culture?, Cultures around the World, Peter Frederick, and Catholic Education (article 2) for starters). It will not be pluralism because pluralism inevitably resorts to the strong over the weak since it seems to lead too far into anarchy, which if played out allows the tyrant to believe that being a tyrant over others will work. Intellectual bullying and manipulation is how this is playing out in some multicultural classes right now. They suggest that they accept multiple perspectives, but they exclude those who do not think the way they want them to think. Logical thinking should be enacted at some point in order to have multicultural classes that make sense.
Historical honesty will survive: serious scientific inquiry in a concentrated way began with the Jesuits. Science would not have existed without the Christian universities quest for academic freedom and inquiry. Academic freedom was espoused in Christian universities (Woods, 2005). Philosophy was encouraged. Science would also not exist without philosophy and neither would psychology for that matter. The rigorous debates in Christian universities were done in an open forum (see the Summa Theologica for how students were required to debate). Anyone was allowed to bring their theory, but they had to have plenty of reasonable evidence, having a debatable theory before bringing it to the forum–many of the theories in this multicultural class could not handle the gentle rigor of honest inquiry. Theories of international law were seriously investigated and expounded upon by Christians (Vitoria, Gentili, and Grotius) because a moral conscience was part of their lives (Neff; Villa, 1997; Woods, 2005). There are many original documents available, and who better to learn a historical perspective from than the person himself . And which type of people would be the most honest about their lives?
There are two ways a multicultural teacher can teach: one, to limit students to one ideology; two, to truly allow multiple perspectives into the forum and to thereby be truly multicultural.
References and Other Helpful Material:
Academic Freedom Statement (2005-2011). John Paul II the Great Catholic University. Retrieved from http://www.jpcatholic.com/academics/freedom.php
Deutermann, William (1970). Educational attainment of workers, March 1969 and 1970. Monthly Labor Review. Retrieved from ERIC.
Downs, D. A. (2009). Academic freedom: What it is, what it isn’t, and how to tell the difference. Retrieved from http://www.popecenter.org/acrobat/AcademicFreedom.pdf
Gorski, Paul C. (1995-2012). Stages of multicultural curriculum transformation. Retrieved from http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/curriculum/steps.html
Harmon, William & Holman, Hugh (2006). A handbook to literature, tenth edition. Pearson, Prentice Hall: New Jersey.
Lamehousewife (2012). Reconstructing Feminism: What is an Education that Treats the Whole Woman?
Lamehousewife (2012). Trudging along but still finding hope…
Neff, Stephen C. A short history of international law. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780199565665/evans3e_ch01.pdf
Noah Webster’s story (online). Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. Retrieved from http://noahwebsterhouse.org/discover/noah-webster-biography.htm
Paul II, John (1990). On Catholic Universities (ex corde ecclesiae). Retrieved from http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_15081990_ex-corde-ecclesiae_en.html
Paul II, John (1997). The theology of the body, human love in the divine plan. Boston: Pauline Books and Media.
Sauer, C. (1989). Structures of consensus-making and intervention: The concept of Nazi language policy in occupied Holland (“Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden 1940-1945”). Language, Power, and Ideology: Studies in Political Discourse, ed. Wodak, R. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=LsJbwsX9oiQC&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=university+discourse&ots=omI10lsgnQ&sig=vA0i8UQn2fFdfDnG63BmPIBwx3I#v=onepage&q=university%20discourse&f=false
Scholes, Robert (1999). The Rise of English in Two American Colleges. The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline. Yale University Press, 1-28. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=qAMY4jpoTQsC&oi=fnd&pg=PP7&ots=X9WZmLhQwu&sig=dE3_GCZ_Q5SGQZpjeRrdp9kqBnE#v=onepage&q&f=false
Villa, Sergio Moratiel (1997). The philosophy of international law: Suarez, Grotius, and epigones. Retrieved from http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/misc/57jnv9.htm
Woods, Jr., Thomas E. (2005). How the Catholic Church built western civilization. Regnery Publishing, Inc.: Washington, D.C.
Yarri, Donna & Stober, Spencer S. (2011). Biology, theology, and academic freedom. JAF AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom. Retrieved from http://www.academicfreedomjournal.org/Previous/VolumeTwo/StoberYarri.pdf