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Multiculturalism In The United States Essay

1281 words - 5 pages

Colleges and universities should emphasize the diverse culture we live in. This position can be validated through the passages written by Mike Rose's "Lives on the Boundary" and Adrienne Rich's "What Does a Woman Need to Know." The following two quotes exemplify Mr. Rose's and Ms. Rich's point of view illustrating this topic. A quote from Mike Rose affirms "We are in the middle of an extraordinary social experiment: the attempt to provide education for all members of a vast pluralistic democracy."(Rose, 117) In another quote Ms. Rich states, "For no woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness."(Rich, 69) Our society is made up of various cultural groups. Colleges and Universities are a microcosm of our society. Gender differences, racial, and ethnic backgrounds must not only be encouraged but emphasized.

Diversity in today's classroom can easily be seen when a class of students consists of individuals who speak a dozen or more languages. Mike Rose demonstrated these differences by using the diverse ethnic groups seen in the area of downtown Los Angeles. Within a few short blocks one can travel to Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street, and Skid Row. His examples of immigrants from China, Italy, and others all shared common deficiencies in literarcy. The newcomers all came to this country with poor reading, writing, and speaking skills. These individuals were often embarrassed about their lack of skills, which made them feel threatened by their teachers. Without a relationship with the dominant culture, the immigrants were ill prepared to learn classical literature since the writings seemed irrelevant and uninteresting. Teachers are increasingly challenged to make subjects comprehensible to students whose English is limited.

Since immigrants struggle with basic skills, the concepts presented in the great books are difficult to grasp and understand. This means a significant part of the curriculum is out of reach for many of these immigrants. Classical literature such as Shakespeare, Homer, and Faulkner, to name a few, have become the customary literature books used in schools. American education, in many cases, has denied our diverse population the use of these great books. Many students struggle with classical literature because it is irrelevant in their lives. Classical literature must be taught with student's diversity in mind. If a person is not from the Dominant Culture, he or she will have little or no interest in the great books described above since these books were written for and by this culture.

Motivating the diverse culture of students in today's schools requires sparking their interest. Social historian Elizabeth Ewen wrote "it is what we are excited about that educates us."(Rose, 106) Mike Rose became interested in the classics, or great books, through Jack McFarland, a high school teacher. Mr. McFarland influenced Rose through accepting him, developing a relationship with...

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