Rejecting The Myth Of Colorblindness In Education

1723 words - 7 pages

Colorblindness is a defect in the perception of colors, caused by a deficiency in specialized cells in the retina that are sensitive to different colors. The term is often used today during political discourse, often by members of some factions of liberalism, when claiming that one’s race should be irrelevant to any decision making process. It is a form of moral posturing; that one should see an individual as simply an individual, but not as part of any larger group or culture. As if this philosophy will enable us to bridge any gaps between races, this thought attempts to focus on how we are all the same, rather than how we differ. Teachers and administrators are required to complete coursework pertaining to multicultural education with the purpose of enabling them to better understand the students whom they teach. It is believed that when one understands the culture from which a student belongs, the teacher will be able to reach that student in a more effective manner. But how does this notion of “understanding” a student’s race or culture, thereby individualizing that student based on their race, reconcile with the idea of being colorblind in the classroom; that people are people and we are all the same? To properly educate students, a teacher must be allowed to recognize and understand the race, culture or ethnicity of those students.
The Multicultural Movement
The multicultural movement in education is deeply rooted, and the movement as we know it today dates back to the 1960s, when the civil rights movement was in full swing. Stemming from the Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) decision and out of the demand by ethnic groups to be included in public schools, colleges, and universities, the main thrust of the movement was to dispel the negative perceptions of the mainstream academia regarding the African-American culture and replace them with accurate and positive ones. This was achieved through educating students of the life, history, and contributions of African-Americans that some felt would lead to the full liberation of the race and help improve their overall collective identity.
Today, the movement has broadened to include all races and cultures. Because the world is racially and ethnically diverse, the goal is to prepare students with the necessary understanding, skills, and knowledge to succeed in this diverse world. In addition, education seeks to be equitable and meet the needs of a growing number of children from different backgrounds, thus enabling them to achieve success professionally and become productive members of society. Elementary school children are introduced to many different cultures through foods, folk dances, music, and guest speakers, while older students read literature that depicts different ethnicities. Core curricula at colleges and universities now include ethnic content and ethnic studies courses. They are taught to recognize, if not celebrate, different cultures, understand their...

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