Tag Archives: multiculturalism

To Cut Or Not To Cut In World Of Multiculturalism?

Every so often in the world of multiculturalism political correctness an issue arises which presents dilemmas that even the most important sages of respecting cultural rights find difficult to resolve. An aboriginal boy in Canada was working at his computer and encountered difficulty seeing due to some bangs which got in the way of reading. A teaching assistant took him into the corridor and cut a few strands of hair off in order to aid his reading. She is now suspended and there is talk of a law suit by parents because the boy lost some strands of hair. Ah, the dilemmas of life!

Everyone agrees the teacher aide simply was trying to help the boy see and was not upset at his long hair, but this misses the point of the modern world. The mother has hired a lawyer who specializes in human rights. After all, we all know that hair length is among the most important human rights of the twentieth century.

Greek Schools Fail Meeting Needs Of Migrant Children

A recent study of Greek teachers and 16,000 immigrant pupils found that the 260 secondary schools that hold regular Greek classes for the immigrant children have witnessed a marked improvement in the academic performance of those students. However, it is more common that Greek schools ignore the needs of migrant children and fail to even address language needs such as ensuring all immigrant children have access to Greek language instruction. Most schools continue using textbooks that reinforce the idea of a monoculture rather than ensure that there is information about the range of groups currently living in Greece.

The study of successful integration is titled, “The Integration of Repatriated Greeks and Immigrant Children into Secondary Education,” allowed many teachers an opportunity to discuss issues of multiculturalism. The author of the study stated bluntly, “most textbooks do not take account of the multicultural nature of our society.”

British Conservatives Denounce Multiculturalism

Dominic Grieve, who would become Home Secretary in a future Conservative government, blasted the idea of multiculturalism as having been beneficial to the nation. He told the Guardian newspaper in an interview: “We’ve actually done something terrible to ourselves in Britain. In the name of trying to prepare people for some new multicultural society we’ve encouraged people, particularly the sort of long term inhabitants to say, ‘well, your cultural background isn’t really very important.” He pointed out although the idea was to “create a melting pot, the melting pot needs the ingredients of people’s confidence in themselves as they come together. And, if it isn’t there, I think we’ve done ourselves huge damage.”

He argued Muslims have to understand the importance of being tolerant and integrating themselves into British society. He also expressed dismay at failure to recognize the importance of Christianity in the history of the UK. “The role of Christianity is really rather important. It can’t just be magicked out of the script.”

The ideas of the Conservative leader reveal a complete misunderstanding of the concept of multiculturalism. At present over 200 million people are immigrants in one nation or another. They obviously have to accept the ideas of a nation in which they live, but this does not preclude maintaining values, customs, and beliefs of their own background.

Racial Issues In Britain Spark Housing Shifts

the racial m ap of Great Britain is being redrawn as European immigrants head for the country while richer black and Asians head for white suburbs and young whites increasingly mix with children of various cultures. There is no clear but “white flight” but indications are many people are shifting their place of residence in order to have their children grow up with those of varying cultures. A recent study conducted by the Barrow Cadbury Trust revealed the lack of a single pattern on the part of whites in Great Britain. Acording to Sukhvinder Stubbs, chief executive of the organization: “What we are aware of in Birmingham is that there is middle-class flight, that in fact the better educated and those with better incomes–whether they come from white backgrounds or of the various ethnic-minority backgrounds -are moving out of the inner cties.”

The good news is a lack of desire among whites to have their children raised in a segregated world in which everyone is of one color. There apparently is a new coalition of people based on income and education which desires to live together and avoid the older desire for white flight. The study discovered people believe white flight is an issue but they do not see such patterns in their own communities. Perhaps, the issue of white flight is now behind the people of Great Britain.

The study may well be revealing a new sense among people that live in the 21st century is multiculturally based and it is best for society and their children to live in a mutli-ethnic and colored society.

Multiculturalism–Why It Binds, Not Divides Nations

During the past four hundred years, the American people have struggled with multicultural issues in an effort to create a society inhabited by those of diverse backgrounds. In the 1660s when England took over New Amsterdam, they found a city in which over 14 languages were spoken including Hebrew of early Jewish settlers who fled the Spanish Inquistion. Benjamin Franklin, writing in the 1750s was concerned about efforts of alien immigrants to “Germanize” the English colonists. We Americans have always confronted multicultural issues which invariably included bigotry and prejudice.

Early American history contained two major issues of diversity– slavery and Catholicism. English settlers brought their anti-Catholicism to the colonies and that feeling endured for hundreds of years. The arrival of poor Irish immigrants in the 1830s and 1840s resulted in a dramatic rise in percent of Americans who were Catholic. Nineteenth century America was familiar with newspaper ads warning “No Irish Need Apply.” During the time period 1890-1824, over 20 million immigrants arrived, mainly from eastern and southern Europe, including millions of Jews. These people were subjected to the same comments as made about contemporary Hispanics– they worked for low wages, they took jobs away from native Americans, they refused to speak English, they lacked regard for the basic concepts of democracy. The 1924 Quota Act was designed to keep Jews and east and south Euorpe immigrants from arriving.

I have a copy of the NFL Team Roster for 1940. Next to each player’s name are words like, Polish, Italian, Irish, Jewish, German, etc…Ethnicity was always alive and well in American history. A typical day in 1940 would have seen about a dozen newspapers printed in languages such as Yiddish, Italian, Polish, etc… One could walk for blocks in areas like Little Italy and only hear Italian spoken. it is a myth claiming olden time immigrants were fluent in English and avoided using their native language. There was a vibrant Yiddish theater in New York and some of its actors like Edward G. Robinson went on to fame in Hollywood.

The fight to respect ethnic, racial, an cultural diversity in this nation has been going on for over a hundred years. Laws to end quotas that kept Jews or Catholics or Negroes from entering college were sought. Legislation to end discrimination in hiring or to make illegal restrictive covenants which deprived Jews, Catholics or black skinned people from living in neighborhoods were not achieved until the 1960s. The integration of the armed forces was the result of Missouri born President Harry Truman’s directive and Texas born President Lyndon Johnson, pushed through civil rights laws that seriously damaged his Democratic party but saved the soul of America.

The result is the presence of Condi Rice in the Cabinet or Colin Powell becoming head of the armed forces or Italians serving on the Supreme Court or several US senators who are of the Jewish faith or Japanese Americans holding position of responsibility in government or women finally being able to assume leadership of major corporations. Every accusation against an Hispanic today was made against ancestors of the person who used the slanderous words. We Americans are far from perfect in our quest to attain equality for all citizens, but we are marching along the highway trod by Martin Luther King. It is a long road, filled with potholes and detours, but hopefully, we continue the march for freedom.

The United States has always been a nation of diverse people, it has always struggled with integration of newcomers, it has always possessed those who hate immigrants. In the 1840s the Know Nothing Party wanted an end to Catholic Irish immigration. Fortunately, the majority of Americans have refused allowing the haters to overwhelm the drive for equity for all.

Czech Republic Youth Display Racist Attitudes

A poll conducted by the People in Need Foundation revealed deep seated racist attitudes among adolescent Czech Republic youth. Almost 80% of them do not like Romany people whom they blame for an “inability to adjust.” They prefer having the government place Romany children in separate schools in order to remove them from daily contact with typical students. Most of the students also revealed they do not like prostitutes, drug addicts and the homeless although they appear more sympathetic towards senior citizens and the disabled. Critics argued the poll did not include schools which have instituted multicultural education programs.

This poll should make those who oppose multicultural education in America pause and reflect on the benefits of having young people learn about other cultures and values. it is all well and good to decry “political correctness,” but there is something “correct” about recognizing the dignity and humanity of those for whom are of different cultures and may also have differing values.

Teach Us About Ourselves, Ask Canadian Students

About seven out of ten students in the Toronto School District of Canada are not of white European background, they come from all parts of the world to schools which ignore who they are as people. In one of the most comprehensive studies ever done by a school district, the Toronto school board asked every student in grades 7-12 to complete an intensive survey regarding their feelings and views of going to school. The anonymous nature of the survey enables young people to feel free to express their views. Many reported never learning anything about their own place of origin or about the nations of Asia from which many come. The survey revealed many interesting pieces of data such as that only 56% ate breakfast or that 35% say home distractions impact their ability to do homework. Despite some concerns about school safety the overwhelming majority said they got along well with peers and did not really encounter physical threats to their being.

The school board is following up the survey with open forums for students which allow them to express their ideas in a public meeting. The Toronto School district should be complimented on their willingness to engage students in dialogue and to make known their ability to listen to students. It is more common for adults to “talk to” young people rather than actually engaging in active listening.