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In a U.S. history class, the professor teaches students how Americans fought in the past for their freedom and liberty, and how people from Europe built their home in this land around two centuries ago. After the industrious Europeans built their homes, they started to build the justice for their hometown. Later, schools and universities were gradually build for students. All of these were necessary in order to continue the culture which those people had already learned in Europe, especially on education. This is called Western canon, and every thing is built on this foundation. But is this kind of situation fair to other races?
What is multicultural? In my opinion, it is the mixture of many different races and their cultures. The United States is a diversely ethnic society. Each race has its own culture, and unique history. For instance, Chinese have their five thousand years culture; Africans have their glorious history based on the old Egypt, and South/Central Americans have their old Inca Empire and Maya cultures. Price Hugh B. is the vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, he says that, "According to Asa Hilliard of George State University, school curriculum should teach that Africa is the birthplace of mankind and thus of the arts, the sciences ,mathematics, and the great philosophers"(qtd in price 300). All these cultures are engulfed and very valuable to people. These cultures should be equal and no superior culture. Triandis Harry C. is a staff writer in American Psychologist. He gives his definition on multicultural and explains that, "Multiculturalism is a social-intellectu!
al movement that promotes the value of diversity as a core principle and insists that all cultural groups be treated with respect and as equal"(609). I agree with it, and also believe that it is the main concept of the multicultural. Cheney lynne V. is a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She illustrates "We, more than any other country, are a nation made up of many people from many nations and cultures. Multiculturalism is part of the American identity, and so it should be part of what is taught in our schools, college, and universities"(45). Kunjufu Jawanze is a writer and Vann Kimberly R. is a freelance writer; they also indicate that, "we must have a curriculum that teaches African-American history and culture and the histories and cultures of other ethnic groups as well on a continual basis and not just during the shortest month of the year"(Kunjufu & Vann 298). Now, the schools in the United States are facing a problem - should education !
systems based on multiculturalism or Western canon. In my opinion, I believe that the education in the United States should base on multicultural instead of Western cultural. The reason is the United States is a country for all races of people but not only for Europeans. In fact, learning multicultural can also influence students’ minds and improve their knowledges.
Learning multicultural can build up students’ self-esteem. How could multicultural build up people’s self-esteem? For example, Chinese-Americans can feel proud by learning Chinese culture and history instead of knowing the situations of illegal immigrants or unskilled workers. Price meantions, "if students do not feel good about themselves, they will not fare well in school. They say that students do better academically when they see people like themselves represented in the curriculum"(302). On the other hand, if education is only based on the wastern canon, then all situations might be changed. The ethnic self-esteem of other races might lower and let them feel that Europeans are the most superior. Kunjufu states, "a strictly Eurocentric perspective will not properly prepare students for a successful future in a multicultural world"(Kunjufu & Vann 298). They also point out how Western cnon lower the self-esteem, "In textbooks, Afican-American history begins with Am!
erican slavery, instead of with the genesis of civilization is Africa. Therefore, African-Americans are considered as descendants only of slaves, not of kings and queens"(Kunjufu & Vann 298). Cheney also depicts how multiculturalism is important to children. He say, "It is important that our children learn to understand the various cultures that make up this country and the world, but it is also important that they learn to regard themselves and others as individuals…."(45). Actually, self-esteem plays a very
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Multiculturalism, Critical pedagogy, Identity politics, Education policy, Education theory, Multicultural education, Multicultural marketing, Criticism of multiculturalism
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