America as a country with diverse, racial, ethnic, and cultural groups has adopted multicultural education in its learning institution. Multicultural education has greatly improved unity among the different cultural groups in the region, especially among the youths. While James Banks gives the advantages of multicultural education in American society, Arthur Schlesinger is against the ideology by claiming that it is a mere channel to promote Afrocentricity. I support and believe in Banks’ ideas because according to him, all educationists have to infuse multiculturalism in their curriculum to promote similar views and ideas among the youths or children. Multicultural education in America will prepare children/students to live well in a country with diverse cultural and ethnic groups as both professionals and citizens, however, if it lacks in the education system then individualism, oppression, and social segregation are inevitable.
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I dismiss Arthur Schlesinger’s assertion that multicultural education has promoted Afrocentrism ideas in America at the cost of anglocentrism (23). Afrocentrism is whereby the education system concentrates on the history of blacks and not any other race. Primarily the culture, ideas, and other practices focus on the African people, therefore, excluding the white people. On the other hand, anglocentrism is an ethnic term, which focuses on the language of a person especially English irrespective of origin or genetic makeup. Although Afrocentrism seems to focus more on the culture of the black people, multicultural education aims to blend all cultures and not necessarily lean on the African side. America has many minority groups, which include Hispanic and Asians among others. Therefore, why does Schlesinger concentrate on the black community?
A personal analysis of the American education curriculum, which prevailed before the last two decades, proves that there was inequality in society. The curriculum focused on the history of whites or their development. Due to unequal presentation, America frequently experienced social segregation and discrimination. Eventually, most minority groups held strikes or demonstrations to call for equal representation. In addition, most of the literature accessed in class was from white male authors or personalities. Consequently, most of the black students had not only adopted the white culture but also viewed it as superior. However, multicultural education shows that each person, race, or community is vital. Eventually, there is satisfaction and security among the minority groups thus promoting peace in the society.
Multicultural education builds both personality and positive attitudes among the youths. The current literature used in schools and colleges cut across all races, cultures, and ethnic groups. Analytical this trend motivates students from diverse backgrounds not only to interact but also to exchange views thus unifying the nation. As a student, I have observed that people from different cultures unite to form discussion groups. Furthermore, multiculturalism is the best channel America should use to unify a nation. Due to multicultural education, children from different racial groups attend the same schools and undergo similar training. America is one of the nations, which experiences disunity along racial lines, on gender basis and classes. Although the country is still fighting social problems, multicultural education is one of the ways, which will come in handy to rectify them. As an American, I underscore the critics of multicultural education like Schlesinger who assert that the system will divide the nation. Therefore, multicultural education is the only channel that should assist in solving the social crisis in America. Intuitively according to multiculturalists “we are one nation politically sociologically our nation is deeply divided” (Banks 23). Therefore, besides solving the social issues, multicultural education will improve both the political and economic welfares in America.
Multicultural education strengthens human and social values. Due to emphasis on each culture, the children become satisfied with their color or position in society. Unfortunately, Schlesinger claims that multicultural education will not only promote Afrocentric ideas but also lead to the division or will disintegrate the core values of the human race in American society. Alluding from evolutionary theories of the human race and other scholars, he asserts that other cultures should readily accept to dissolve in the American culture. Intuitively, cultural assimilation destroys a nation’s social and historical heritage. Moreover, multicultural education combats cultural conflict in a large society like America. When every person is aware of the friends, neighbors, or schoolmates’ cultural identity then people will leave in harmony. Analysis of Schlesinger’s article shows that he is promoting racialism and ethnicity, which leads to cultural conflicts in America and so, disunity prevails. I have observed that most countries in Africa experience political upheavals and social disunity mainly because of cultural conflicts. The lack of cultural integration in learning institutions promotes selfish ideas, hatred, and tribal clashes among other vices. All professionals should emphasize the ideology to instill security among all cultures in America. Teachers should impart knowledge to their students with constant reference to different races, classes, and ethnic groups (Banks 25). Finally, teachers should counsel and motivate children to adopt positive attitudes towards the diverse cultures in America. Therefore, Americans can promote multicultural education by mixing children from different racial backgrounds and alluding from different cultures during instructive lessons will change a child’s view on a different race, culture, or ethnic group rather than where he/she belongs. Therefore, I also believe in Banks assertion that integrating all cultures in a single system improves the social behavior of Americans. Furthermore, gender studies and sexuality should prevail in the education curriculum to make sure there is both peace and unity in society. If all the American citizens respect the different cultures in the region then probably peace will forever prevail.
Therefore, multicultural education promotes vital social virtues lacking in America. Apart from the white race, the minority groups can have high self-esteem because the education systems indirectly stress that all races, cultures, or ethnic groups are vital. Eventually, nobody can present himself/herself as superior an aspect, which enhances love and equality in America. Democratic values promoted in multicultural education lead to equality in the region. Multicultural education also ensures children acquire the same knowledge despite their background. The children will have the same attitude, skills, and similar personalities, which are vital in promoting unity in a region. Moreover, professionals who have trained under multicultural education will have similar attitudes towards each other.
Unfortunately, there are challenges, which constantly undermine multicultural education in America. The critics of multicultural education like Schlesinger not only mischaracterize the system but may also hinder the program. According to the critics especially Schlesinger, multicultural education will erode the whites culture, which will eventually cut down the power of the race in the region. However, I believe that through multicultural education the American society will transform into a peaceful entity. Eventually, equal contributions to the social, economic, and political developments in America will strengthen it when compared to other regions in the world. Moreover, multiculturalism is not a politically oriented idea but rather a social development that all Americans are yet to fully support.
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In conclusion, I believe in James Banks’s assertion that multicultural education is the only way America should follow to meet racial equality in the region. All Americans regardless of their background should know all the cultures in the region. Due to multicultural education, children will learn to appreciate and respect each other irrespective of their race or culture. Furthermore, society will experience fewer social conflicts originating from racial diversity. The critiques of multicultural education should view the practice as a way of promoting peace, love, and unity in the region and not racial predominance. Therefore, although multicultural education is still picking up in most parts of America, multiculturalists should continually campaign for its popularity to promote equality in America thus solving most of the social problems.
Banks, James. “Multicultural Education: development, dimensions, and challenges.” The Phi Delta Kappan 75.1 (1993): 22-28. Print.
Schlesinger, Arthur. The Disuniting of America, 1992. Web.