Multiculturalism (was bourgeois feminism)
cdbrady at attglobal.net
Wed Aug 7 21:52:31 MDT 2002
Multiculturalism has been a positive development in education.
I know what you mean about identity politics.
It has some adherents who would use it to advance their careers,
but so does everything.
Regardless, it has also been very important in bringing
in different perspectives on history-- a positive development in the
United States where most history taught in high schools and undergrad
courses seems to gravitate around patriotism rather than inquiry.
It is also explicite in multiculturalism that class be addressed.
The fact that it has not been means that it should be.
It's time to call the question.
My studies in this area are why I initially reacted to Nancy's original
posts with such, um, vigour. Class is the central concept of Marxism,
but you will not find it mentioned in high school social studies, while
at least cursory recognition is given to women's history, the history of
"minorities", etc. Only the so-called "middle class" is ever mentioned
as a class qua class in the media or by politicians. Democrats and
union leaders skirt the issue by using the phrase "working families" and
shelve public analysis by so doing. It's time to out the working class.
Multiculturalism also brought the story of Palestinians into the
dialogue about the Middle East at Brooklyn College when I was there a
decade or so ago. Of course it is feminist; it encourages people to
treasure their cultures, and for others to value our human diversity; it
is homophilic rather than homophobic, too. These are good things. I
think Marxists should be happy to be associated with such endeavours. I
know many who are, anyways.
P.S.: I am concerned, however, with the disappearance of gay liberation
from high school history textbooks. It had made a brief mention in
textbooks published in the 1980s, but by the late 1990s had been
purged. This is only from my informal observation of texts used in
local high schools. It is probably the effect of the Texas Schoolbook
Committees. On the other hand, GLBT associations seem to be a normal
presence on campuses of colleges and universities.
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