Melting Pot

The United States of America has been called the "Melting Pot" for centuries, it\'s borders have for the
most part been open to mass migrations of foreign people from countries all over the world. Some of these
foreign people came here by force, under the bonds of slavery, while others came here voluntarily in
anything that floats, flys, or would otherwise transport them to a new place with a promise of a better life.
This has been, and is, historical fact, the inhabitants of the United States have been and continue to be a
diverse population consisting of a multitude of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This being the
case one would assume it would be only logical and practical that within American educational systems
courses describing and teaching multiculturism would be provided in order to educate students how to
interact and respect peoples from various cultures. However, "the issue of multiculturism, how to properly
define it, and what its role should be !
in the educational curriculum has become a hotly debated, controversial topic in American schools"
(Finsterbusch & McKenna 2). Two general schools of thought have developed over the debate of
multicultirism as part of the curriculum: One school of thought contends that teaching multiculturalism
debases the curriculum by enforcing anti-Western idelology, while the other school of thought contends
that teaching multiculturism enhances the the curriculum by "humanizing the viewpoint of the student"
(Finsterbusch & McKenna 3).
One school of thought in the debate over incorporating multiculturism into the educational curriculum
contends that it debases the curriculum by enforcing anti-Western ideology. According to Dinesh D\'Souza,
author of Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus;
"...by the time students graduate, very few colleges have met their
needs for all-round development. Instead, by precept and example,
universities have taught them that all rules are unjust and all
preferences are principled; that all justice is simply the will of the
stronger party, and the ideal of the educated person is largely a
figment of bourgeois white male idealology, which should be cast
aside; that all knowledge can be reduced to politics, and that double
standards are acceptable as long as they are enforced to the benefit
of minority victims" (D\'Souza 33).

Many univeristies have begun offering multicultural studies with emphasis on minority perspective such as
Afro-American Studies and Women\'s Studies departments (Eckerd College 1996). The rationale behind
these courses is that traditional white curriculum and white professors cannot provide adequate information
or role models for minority students, so non-Western educational context is provided to bridge possible
gaps. Educators like D\'Souza believe that courses of this nature do not provide a diverse education, but
rather reinforce and "promulgate rigid political views about civil rights, feminism, homosexual rights, and
other issues pressed by the activists who set up these departments in the first place" (Finsterbusch &
McKenna 7). Educators opposed to multicultural curriculum further contend that students once exposed or
made aware to racially and sexually biased perspectives, will bring this knowledge with them and point out
instances of racism and sexism in other cours!
e readings or other class discussions. These same educators have expressed concern that this constant
sensitivity monitoring that multicultural curriculum may activate in some students will result in the failure
of those students to see beyond the biogtry and sexism of the classical readings, and traditional educational
material and interfere with comprehension of the intended meaning of this material. It is feared that the
student will focus on the latent bigotry in traditional course readings and materials and fail to realize the
contributions made by the referenced authors and historical figures. Even within graduate studies many
educators such as Dr. Manfred Stanley of Syracuse University feel that "multicultural courses must contain
a consistent model or method of standardization so that adequate information is given on each diverse
culture, and ethnocentricism can be minimized" (Finsterbusch & McKenna 9). Some educators insist on
the need to include such sciences as P!
roxemics, and Paralanguage as part of the standard theoretical curriculum for graduate courses in
multiculturalism without questioning their practical applications (Sue & Sue 53). Other proponents in
favor of banning multiculturalism from the educational curriculum feel that multicultural education, and
racial activism belong in the community